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  1. Stigma of a Label Educational Expectations for High School Students Labeled with Learning Disabilities

    Poorer outcomes for youth labeled with learning disabilities (LDs) are often attributed to the student’s own deficiencies or cumulative disadvantage; but the more troubling possibility is that special education placement limits rather than expands these students’ opportunities. Labeling theory partially attributes the poorer outcomes of labeled persons to stigma related to labels.

  2. Structured Variation in Parental Beliefs about Autism

    We used data from the 2011 Survey of Pathways to Diagnosis and Services (N = 1,420) to evaluate a conceptual model linking social background (race-ethnicity, socioeconomic status [SES]) to parental distress through children’s clinical profiles and parental beliefs about the nature and causes of their child’s autism. Children’s clinical profiles varied by social background; white children and children of more highly educated and affluent parents were less likely to experience comorbid conditions and were more likely to be diagnosed with Asperger’s.
  3. Race and Disability: From Analogy to Intersectionality

    Sociologists are using intersectional lenses to examine an increasingly wider range of processes and identities, yet the intersection of race and disability remains a particularly neglected area in sociology. Marking an important step toward filling this gap, the authors interrogate how race and disability have been deployed as analogy in both disability rights activism and in critical race discourse.
  4. Influence and Social Distance Consequences across Categories of Race and Mental Illness

    This paper describes an experimental study (N = 184) that investigated influence and social distance consequences of a number of attributes in interpersonal interactions. The attributes included race, education, panic disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. Participants interacted with fictitious partners whom they believed were real and who represented the attributes studied. Participants had opportunities to be influenced by and seek distance from their interaction partners. Results showed that low educational attainment and schizophrenia significantly reduced the influence of partners.

  5. Mental Illness as a Stigmatized Identity

    In this study, we examine the relationships among reflected appraisals, self-views, and well-being for individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness. We also test a perceptual control model of identity to determine whether discrepancies between stigmatized reflected appraisals and stigmatized self-views are associated with self-evaluation (self-esteem and self-efficacy) and psychological distress (depressive symptoms). We find that stigmatized self-views are significantly associated with lower self-esteem and self-efficacy and higher levels of depressive symptoms.

  6. Extending the Minority Stress Model to Understand Mental Health Problems Experienced by the Autistic Population

    Research into autism and mental health has traditionally associated poor mental health and autism as inevitably linked. Other possible explanations for mental health problems among autistic populations have received little attention. As evidenced by the minority disability movement, autism is increasingly being considered part of the identities of autistic people. Autistic individuals thus constitute an identity-based minority and may be exposed to excess social stress as a result of disadvantaged and stigmatized social status.
  7. Disability as an Axis of Inequality: A Pandemic Illustration (Disability in Society)

    The unequal impacts of COVID-19 demonstrate an urgent need for sociological interrogations of disability as a social category and axis of inequality commensurate with race, class, and gender and intersecting with them. While disability can be a marker of health status, it is also a unique social category with particular politics structuring disabled people’s lives and reflecting interlocking systems of oppression. We provide examples of how the pandemic reveals disability is a societally mediated category of existence that is (de)valued in particular ways.

  8. The Psychological Consequences of Disability over the Life Course: Assessing the Mediating Role of Perceived Interpersonal Discrimination

    We examine whether perceived interpersonal discrimination mediates the association between disability and psychological well-being (depression, negative and positive affect) and how these processes differ across the life course. Data are from two waves (2004–2006; 2013–2014) of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS; N = 2,503). Perceived discrimination accounts for 5% to 8% of the association between disability and the three mental health outcomes.

  9. A Multilevel Investigation into Contextual Reliability in the Designation of Cognitive 180 Health Conditions among U.S. Children

    Unreliable diagnoses (e.g., based on inconsistent criteria, subjective) may be inaccurate and even inequitable. This study uses an event history approach with yearly child- and school-level data from 378,919 children in a large urban school district in the southwestern United States between 2006–2007 and 2011–2012 to investigate contextual reliability in the designation of cognitive health conditions (e.g., autism, learning disabilities).

  10. Study Investigates Whether Blind People Characterize Others by Race

    Most people who meet a new acquaintance, or merely pass someone on the street, need only a glance to categorize that person as a particular race. But, sociologist Asia Friedman wondered, what can we learn about that automatic visual processing from people who are unable to see?

    Friedman, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Delaware, set out to explore that question by interviewing 25 individuals who are blind. She will present her findings in a study at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).