Impact of sociodemographic characteristics on the identification rates of minority students as having mental retardation

Ment Retard. 2001 Oct;39(5):351-67. doi: 10.1352/0047-6765(2001)039<0351:IOSCOT>2.0.CO;2.


Ethnic disproportionality among students with mental retardation and relationships between disproportionality and sociodemographic factors were investigated. Using national data, we examined the effects of gender, ethnicity, and sociodemographic factors on the proportion of students identified as having mental retardation. Results indicate a clear association among ethnicity, gender, and mental retardation. Sociodemographic variables were also strongly associated with the proportion of students identified. A logistic regression model that included sociodemographic predictors was significantly better than models with gender and race alone. Findings indicate that both individual student characteristics and district sociodemographic characteristics were important in determining the likelihood of identification of mental retardation and that the impact of the sociodemographic characteristics is different for each gender/ethnicity group. Recommendations for future research are provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Culture
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis*
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology