Study: Disabilities Underrepresented in College Psychology Classes

February 24, 2016

College psychology curricula are missing important information on disabilities, according to a new study. Published in Teaching of Psychology, the study analyzed the titles and descriptions of nearly 700 psychology courses from 98 undergraduate psychology programs across the country. All the programs offered courses on psychiatric disability -- but only eight offered courses on physical disability.

Courses on disability also tended to focus on diagnosis, treatment and cure, the researchers found. But the psychological approach to disability is changing: newer models focus on coping, acceptance, reducing prejudice and social policy.

“About 57 million people in the U.S. have a disability, and it’s likely we will all interact with someone with a disability on a regular basis,” Kathleen Bogart, an assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University and a co-author of the study, said in a press release. “Yet in terms of minority groups, we teach about disability the least.”

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