An Appraisal-Based Approach to the Stigma of Walker-Use

  • Andrew McNeill
  • Lynne Coventry
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9193)


Walker-use among older adults is often avoided because of the stigma of using one. Drawing on the appraisal theory of stress, we argue that stigma associated with walker-use is subject to various cognitive appraisals that affect whether the user sees the walker as stigmatizing and the extent to which they can cope with that stigma. We followed a participatory design approach to involve older adults in the design of an intelligent walker. One of the activities was to conduct focus groups to explore the role of the aesthetic design of the product in acceptance and use of such walkers. Qualitative analysis of these focus groups provides data explaining the ways in which potential users assess stigma and coping resources. We emphasise that while better design of walkers is important, tackling the self-stigma of users and increasing their ability to cope with using one is equally important.


Psychology and cognition User acceptance Design 



This research was funded by EC Grant Agreement No 288917.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PaCT Lab, Department of PsychologyNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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