Alyse Ritvo Humanities and Social Science
Identity Formation in People with Invisible Disabilities: How Decisions About Disability Disclosure Impact College Students' Sense of Self
An invisible disability is one that remains unnoticeable to an observer unless the person with the disability or someone else discloses it. Invisible disabilities can be of a physical, cognitive, intellectual, or psychiatric nature and are estimated to account for 40% of disabilities in the U.S. Since people with invisible disabilities can choose whether or not to conceal them in a given situation, they face the ongoing challenge of deciding whether and how to present their disabilities. This liminal status proves challenging for identity formation, a critical issue in young adulthood. Through qualitative interviews, I will learn how college students decisions about disability disclosure affect their self-concepts and relationships. I hope that my research findings will inform public health workers, university administrators, and the general public about how to better accommodate students with invisible disabilities.