The association of group-based discrimination with health and well-being: a comparison of ableism with other “isms”

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  • Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL)
  • University of Oxford


Discrimination has negative consequences for the health and well‐being (HWB) of individuals belonging to disadvantaged groups. Due to social and attitudinal barriers, we argue that disabled people comprise one of the groups most affected by discrimination. Using data from the European Social Survey, including representative samples from 32 countries surveyed in seven waves (2002–2014), we compared the effects of ableism on HWB with discrimination targeting other groups (e.g., sexism and ageism). We tested these effects between individuals (i.e., comparing the effects of individuals belonging to different disadvantaged groups) and within individuals (i.e., examining the case of individuals belonging to multiple disadvantaged categories). Results indicated that facing ableism is associated with lower HWB, and that this effect has a greater magnitude when compared to the effect of being discriminated because of other disadvantaged group memberships. Our findings highlight the significance of addressing ableism in research and social policy.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-846
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019