Title

Effects of Disability Disclosure and Acknowledgment on Ratings of Interviewees with Visible Disabilities

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology, Industrial and Organizational

Date of Defense

10-12-2004

Graduate Advisor

Therese Hoff Macan, PhD

Committee

Cody Ding, Ph.D.

Mark Tubbs

Michael Beatty

Abstract

While some authors stress the benefits of disclosing one's disability prior to the interview in order to eliminate interviewer surprise, attention-related research suggests that such disclosure is likely to result in self-focused thinking by the interviewer, reducing the ability to judge performance accurately. Similarly, verbal acknowledgment of a visible disability during an interview has been predicted to reduce interviewer anxiety, yet some authors contend that acknowledgment is a violation of the rules of interviewing and adds to discomfort. The present research addressed the question: What are the effects of an applicant's pre-interview disability disclosure and disability acknowledgment during the interview? Using a selection simulation, Study 1 (n=109) examined the effects of both disability disclosure and acknowledgement on post-interview ratings. Study 2 (n=126) isolated disability disclosure prior to the interview and examined only its pre-interview effects. Study 1 results revealed a main effect of disclosure for males, such that they rated the applicant as more anxious when she disclosed than when she did not. A disclosure x acknowledgment interaction indicated that the personality of the applicant who disclosed prior to the interview was rated more positively by male interviewers when she did not acknowledge during the interview, as compared to when she acknowledged. A second interaction revealed that for both male and female participants, the applicant who did not disclose received more favorable communication skills ratings when she acknowledged at some point during the interview, as compared to not acknowledging.

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