Being a Man With an Invisible Disability: College Men's Experiences

Maggie Korn, University of Rhode Island


In many important ways, having a disability challenges traditional masculinity ideology. Understanding how men conceptualize and negotiate their identities both as men and as individuals with disabilities is important as men comprise a large percentage of students with disabilities, specifically invisible disabilities. The prevalence of invisible disabilities, which are disabilities not visibly apparent to others, has been increasing across all levels of education, including higher education (Marder et al., 2003). Previous studies have explored the intersections between masculinity and disability, however they were narrowly focused on men with visible impairments (e.g., Gershick & Miller, 1995) and men with chronic illnesses (e.g., Charmaz, 1995; Gibbs, 2005). Furthermore, none of these studies examined men within the context of higher education, which is important as college plays a significant role in the development of masculinity (Harris, 2010; Kimmel, 2008). The present study used grounded theory, a qualitative research approach, to explore the experiences of 22 college men with invisible disabilities through the use of in-depth interviews. This study examined how these men conceptualized their dual identities as men with invisible disabilities and how they engaged with the academic accommodations process. A grounded theory was developed providing a framework for understanding the experiences of these men that captured four central themes of (a) embodying masculinity, (b) losing masculinity, (c) preserving masculinity, and (d) cultivating masculinity.^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Maggie Korn, "Being a Man With an Invisible Disability: College Men's Experiences" (2017). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10263711.