Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Amy Hackney


Past research has shown that students with a learning disability (LD) diagnosis face more obstacles that just their disability. The purpose of this study was twofold. The first purpose was to examine the perceived social stigma that students with a learning disability experience in college. The second purpose was to assess the existing stereotypes about students with a learning disability. Four undergraduate students with a LD and 101 students without a LD completed a questionnaire designed to assess the prevalence of stereotypes, metastereotypes, and stigmas on the college campus in regards to those with a learning disability. Students with a LD responded to what extent they felt others held stereotypes about students with a LD (metastereotypes). The specific metastereotypes and stereotypes measured were questions related to the constructs of low intelligence, process deficit, nonspecific insurmountable conditions, working the system, and compensation possible. Contrary to hypotheses, the results showed that the most endorsed stereotype construct was compensation possible, a positive stereotype that students with a LD can succeed as well as other students when provided with compensation such as extra time on tests. Overall, the results showed that some negative stereotypes about students with a LD are held, but the stereotypes are not as negative as some students with a LD believe them to be. These findings have practical implications for educating students about learning disabilities and for helping students with a learning disability feel less stigmatized.