Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Koch. D. Shane
What makes a person disabled is a much-debated topic with some focusing on the individuals impairments (putting the onus of disability on the individual) while others focus on how the environment (both architectural and social) exacerbates an individual’s impairments and creates the conceptualization of disability (putting the onus of disability on society). No matter how a person with a disability (PWD) is categorized, they are met with healthcare, education, and work disparities that are perpetuated both unintentionally and intentionally. This paper examines the various ways disability and subsequently stigma arises from a variety of viewpoints both within and outside the tradition of behaviorism. Given an overview of behavioral research, much of which is line with non-behavioral conceptualizations track well on to, the author points to how Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and Contextual Behavioral Science (CBS) may offer potential applications for the reduction of stigma towards PWDs. Three studies were detailed across relevant relational frames and their potential roles in the formation and defusion of stigma thereby extending the prior behavioral research on utility for potential, computer-based societal interventions.
This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.