Princeton University Library Catalog

More than a Diagnosis: An Investigation of the Application of Disability Stereotypes

Shanahan, Cristin [Browse]
Senior thesis
Spokas, Megan [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
106 pages
Summary note:
Individuals with disabilities face numerous hardships in their daily lives, with one of the most substantive being the stereotypes of others. These stereotypes can be incredibly detrimental to the lives of these individuals, thus knowledge of their application is necessary. 208 individuals completed a survey to assess the application of disability stereotypes across different disabilities. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four vignette conditions, each differing in the disability identified (blindness, dyslexia, anxiety and no disability/control). They then responded to identical survey questions about the character described. Results showed that in most cases, people generalized their disability stereotypes across different disability categories, even to disabilities to which these stereotypes were irrelevant. Other results showed that stereotype application may depend on the presentation of the survey question, in that those questions that make the stereotype salient evoke stereotype application more than those that do not increase stereotype salience. The implications of this research are then discussed. Individuals with disabilities are more than their diagnosis, and this research brings light to one of the greatest hardships faced by individuals with disabilities.