Faculty Publications


Disciplinary Sanctioning of Students with Intellectual Disabilities : Revisiting the Status Liability Hypothesis.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Lyman Dukes

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

November 2008

Date Available

September 2011


We examined the impact of disability status on disciplinary sanctioning of a student committing a minor versus severe behavioral infraction. We used the status liability hypothesis as a framework. This hypothesis suggests that individuals with a higher personal status receive sanctioning differentially based on the severity of offense. Specifically, individuals of high status are predicted to be sanctioned less severely than persons with lower status given a minor offense. The hypothesis also predicts that individuals accorded high status will receive more punitive sanctioning when the act of deviance from social norms is perceived as severe. Preservice teachers were randomly assigned to judge the behavior of a student with or without an intellectual disability committing a behavioral offense. A student with an intellectual disability was seen as influenced by dispositional factors, regardless of the offense, while a student without a disability who committed a minor offense was seen as influenced by situational factors. The behavior of a student with an intellectual disability was judged as less severe, and the student was 50% less likely to incur an in‐school suspension. When a student with an intellectual disability was sanctioned, the length of suspension was equal to that of a student without a disability.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, 11(4), 431-443. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.


Kluwer Academic Publishers