240623 Strengthening disability identity through social networks

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Katharine Hayward, PhD, MPH , Tarjan Center, UCLA, Berkeley, CA
The disability rights movement has been instrumental in securing legislation to protect the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. However, more work is needed to further address negative and stereotypical attitudes that continue to hinder disabled individuals full participation in their communities. Disability scholars argue that the creation of a disability identity is needed to continue the work of the disability rights movement. This study aims to describe ways to measure disability identity and what factors contribute to a positive disability identity. College students with disabilities (n=102) completed questionnaires that included items on disability identity, contact with others with disabilities, social support, and disability characteristics. A five item scale measuring disability identity emerged as a result of this study which included items about pride, sense of community, and disclosure. Findings from this study also indicate that disability identity is related to gender, frequency of contact with others with disabilities, the number of people one knows with a disability, and the number of close friends one has. This study has several implications for the need to build connections among individuals with disabilities to develop a positive personal disability identity.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List four factors associated with a positive disability identity. Describe the five items and their underlying themes used to measure disability identity. Discuss ways to develop a positive disability identity.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the sole individual responsible for conducting the research I propose to present on.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.