Undergraduate Research Project on Stigma and LD
The prevalence of learning disabilities and ADHD at the post-secondary level has been on the rise since around 1990, growing 18% between 1990 and 2005 (Cortiella & Horowitz, 2014 p. 29). This increase in the population of LD/ADHD students at the post-secondary level has led to a demand for better accommodations and systems in place to properly accommodate these students. The population growth has been accompanied by a rise in negative stereotypes surrounding students with LD/ADHD. There are many common stereotypes about people with LD/ADHD, and about each diagnosis separately. One of the stereotypes that these diagnoses share is that they are a product of laziness—approximately half of the 1,980 people surveyed by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) in 2014 believed that this was true of students with LD. Reportedly, the most pervasive stereotype about people with LD is that they have generally low ability (May & Stone, 2010).
These stereotypes can be damaging to diagnosed students in the form of perceived stigma and stereotype threat. Though research has been done on the subject, more research is necessary about the prevalence of perceived stigma in people with learning disabilities and/or ADHD so that effective action can be taken against it.
I have worked at the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) since 2013, and have been working as a Research Assistant since 2015. This past semester I decided to take an internship in Psychology Research related to my position so that I could expand my knowledge and earn credit toward my degree at the same time. Part of the internship involved creating my own research study, this survey being the result. I became interested in this research through my own personal experience with being diagnosed with an LD late (age 17) and the differences between my experiences and those of my friends who were diagnosed earlier.
This study focuses on the question: Does the age of diagnosis of an individual with LD/ADHD cause a difference in the amount and type of stigma the individual perceives throughout their life? The study uses a modified version of the Stigma Consciousness Questionnaire-LD (SCQ-LD) developed by CAST in an attempt to measure the perceived stigma of individuals who complete the survey.
The survey targets individuals of all ages, should take participants no longer than 5 – 10 minutes, and is completely anonymous. The survey is now open, and I will begin to analyze data on June 7, 2017.
The more data collected within that timeframe, the more accurate the results will be, so please fill out the survey and pass it on to as many people as possible! The survey can be completed by anyone with LD/ADHD, diagnosed or undiagnosed, and also by people without LD/ADHD.
Cortiella, C. & Horowitz, S. (2014). The State of Learning Disabilities Facts, Trends and Emerging Issues. Retrieved from https://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014-State-of-LD.pdf
May, A. L., & Stone, C. A. (2010). Stereotypes of individuals with learning disabilities: Views of college students with and without learning disabilities. Journal of learning disabilities, 43(6), 483-499. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20375292