Ableism and Able Privilege: Integrating Social Justice Concepts in Rehabilitation Education

Michael T. Hartley, Toni Saia, Aimee C. Mapes, Aryn Taylor, Gabrielle Ficchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concepts of ableism and able privilege are critical for understanding how power and privilege operate in our society to disadvantage disabled people. In this article, we report the results of an exploratory study on the effects of an able privilege training on attitudes toward disability among undergraduate students. Using a posttest-only control, 147 undergraduate students were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. The control group completed measures of attitudes toward disability before the training, while the experimental group completed the measures afterward. Compared with the control group, the experimental group reported more positive attitudes toward disability equity and inclusion, but varied attitudes toward disability pathos and pity. Implications address able privilege as a threshold concept for understanding how institutional structures and ideologies shape the disability experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRehabilitation Counseling Bulletin
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • attitudes toward disability
  • rehabilitation education
  • social barriers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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