Employment Discrimination Against Handicapped Job Candidates: An Analog Study of the Effects of Neurological Causation, Visibility of Handicap, and Public Contact

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The effects of neurological causation, handicap visibility and degree of public contact on simulated employment decisions of job applicants with disabilities was investigated using a 3 x 2 x 2 [degree of contact (between) x visibility (within) x neurological basis (within)] mixed design. Undergraduate volunteers (N=541) each rated four job applicants for a telephone operator position, with each applicant representing one of the disability cells (neurological/visible; neurological/invisible; non-neurological/ visible; non-neurological/invisible). Results indicate that raters tend to view less favorably applicants with neurologically based or highly visible handicaps. An interaction between these factors suggests that individuals with visible and neurologically based handicaps receive the most unfavorable ratings. Level of public contact was significant only in its interaction with the visibility factor; applicants with visible handicaps were rated especially poorly for high-contact positions. These findings have implications for the rehabilitation, treatment, and vocational counseling of handicapped persons.

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