Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Matthew Bogenschutz


Like most disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people from historically marginalized communities. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have faced higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death compared to people without disabilities, as well as significant disruptions to the services that support them to participate in the community. A relative lack of research about the experiences of people with IDD may have contributed to this risk and continues to limit our understanding of the impacts of COVID-19. This three-paper dissertation is guided by the theory of epistemic injustice (Fricker, 2007) to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on people with IDD as they relate to broader questions about whether and to what degree people with IDD are included in research and policy.

This dissertation supports prior literature that found that people with IDD have been uniquely and disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic compared to people without disabilities and that epistemic injustice in research and policy may have contributed to these inequities. These findings suggest that future research at all levels must include people with IDD to ensure that they are considered in future public health emergencies.


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