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April 1968

The Cloak of Competence: Stigma in the Lives of the Mentally Retarded.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(4):508-510. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740040124017

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In The Cloak of Competence, Robert Edgerton has made a valuable contribution to the literature dealing with the mentally retarded. Although this particular investigation was limited to a small number of persons, it is important for two reasons. First, through intensive personal contact, he is able to provide us with a detailed picture of how 48 ex-patients discharged from Pacific State Hospital are living on the "outside," and more important, how they see themselves and their problems. Secondly, this understanding is critical because of the increasing numbers of mildly retarded who must somehow find a place in the community. It is estimated that 80% of those now in institutions for the retarded have IQs below 50. As population increases make more demands on our institutions, the severely and profoundly retarded will become a larger and larger segment of the institutional population. Conversely,

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