Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


This research study used a content analysis technique to analyze 25 fiction books which featured a character having a physical disability. All books were published between 1980-1990 and were at a fourth through sixth grade reading level. A comparison was made to determine if the portrayal of physically disabled characters has changed from their portrayal in books written prior to 1980.

In the books chosen for this study the physically disabled characters were typically juvenile, Caucasian, and male. Orthopedic disorders were most frequently portrayed. The majority of the physically disabled characters were portrayed in important family and societal roles, and perceived as interesting people rather than as a disability. The role of characters who have a physical disability has been portrayed more positively and more realistically in recent fiction.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Library Science

First Advisor

Barbara Safford


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iii, 70 pages)