American Sociological Association

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  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.
  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. 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.

  8. 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.
  9. (Where) Is Functional Decline Isolating? Disordered Environments and the Onset of Disability

    The onset of disability is believed to undermine social connectedness and raise the risk of social isolation, yet spatial environments are seldom considered in this process. This study examines whether unruly home and neighborhood conditions intensify the association between disability onset and several dimensions of social connectedness. I incorporate longitudinal data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, which contains environmental evaluations conducted by trained observers (N = 1,558).
  10. Doing Diagnosis: Autism, Interaction Order, and the Use of Narrative in Clinical Talk

    This study, with an eye toward the social psychology of diagnosis more generally, is an investigation of how clinicians diagnose children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Responding to Hacking’s call for a Goffmanian mode of analysis to complement and balance the emphasis on large-scale transformations and discourses, we examine the narrative way in which clinicians provide evidence to support a diagnostic position.