Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name



Social Work

First Advisor

Stella M. Resko


Purpose: Existing research has shown that individuals with mental disorders experience inequality when looking at income, wages, and poverty in the United States. Still, there has been a dearth of literature exploring how individuals with mental disorders fare economically when exploring multiple inequalities. In this study disability, race, and gender are explored to examine differences in economic and labor market outcomes for Americans with mental disorders. This study hypothesizes that when looking at working-aged Americans, individuals with mental disorders will tend to experience the greatest amount of economic inequality when compared to individuals with non-mental disabilities and that these inequalities will be accentuated in traditionally marginalized race and gender groups.

Methods: The public use files of the Survey of Income and Program Participation Core and Functional Limitations and Disability Topical Module between the years of 1996 to 2011 are used to explore the ways that disability, race, and gender intersect to create differences in income, earnings, employment, work limitation, welfare receipt and poverty. A series of complex samples regressions are conducted to explore each of these economic and labor market outcomes. A discrete time hazard rate analysis is conducted to look at the effect that disability has on poverty entrances and exits over time.

Results: The research findings in this dissertation demonstrate that race, gender, and disability play an important role in economic outcomes. In general, the results from this study demonstrate that individuals with mental disabilities tend to do worse economically when compared to individuals who have non-mental disabilities. Individuals with mental disabilities experience greater inequalities in income and earnings, higher unemployment, and greater chances of experiencing poverty.

Included in

Social Work Commons