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Scholarly Horizons: University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Journal

Abstract

While gender is a large topic in psychological research, little research investigates the intersection between gender and disability. This research is vital in psychology as gender strongly impacts an individual’s experience with disability and people with disabilities are at an increased risk for numerous mental disorders. Despite this need for clinician’s awareness of the gendered effects of disability, disability has been historically ignored in psychological research.

This literature review investigates common perspectives used to study disability including the medical model, feminist model, social model, and disabilities studies. Psychological research on disability demonstrates that men with disabilities commonly experience conflict between masculinity and disability stereotypes. Men with disabilities are also assumed to be asexual. Most of the discourse on women’s experiences with disability reveal a compound oppression.

In addition, a woman’s physical pain is often misattributed to mental health problems. While men tend to focus on mastery when adjusting to disability, women tend to focus on relationship changes. This literature review stresses the importance of intake forms that address individual experiences of disability and the need for bias tests that assess psychologists’ misconceptions about disability. Finally, this review emphasizes the need for future research on this topic, especially on minority gender identities and different types of disabilities.

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