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Robyn Lewis Brown

Research Interests:
Stigma and discrimination; gender; mental health; disability; health data sciences

Ph.D., Florida State University, 2010


I am a feminist scholar specializing in the study of gendered responses to stigma, social devaluation, and social stress more generally, with a particular focus on the health and healthcare experiences of people with disabilities. I am a versatile methodologist with specific training and expertise in survey research and advanced health data analysis, as well as qualitative research methods. 

I regularly teach courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels on statistics; programming and data analytics; the sociology of health, illness and disability; gender and mental health; social psychology; and research methods, including the capstone course for the Health, Society and Populations major. 

I am co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on the Sociology of Disability (publication date: July 2023), which is the first handbook of its kind in this discipline. I am the deputy editor for two journals - Society and Mental Health and Sociological Perspectives - and serve on the editorial boards of several academic journals including the Journal of Aging and Health, Stigma and Health, and Health Sociology Review

I am also highly involved in professional advocacy. I am co-chair of the newly-formed Employee Affinity Group on Disability at UK and have chaired the Faculty Senate Disability Accommodations and Compliance Committee, as well as the Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities for the American Sociological Association. I have served as a faculty advisor for several student advocacy groups, including the Invisible Disabilities Alliance and Active Minds.


I study gender differences in stress and health outcomes across the life course, and have published more than 60 research articles on related topics using population-level and clinical data. A long-standing focus of my work is on gender- and disability-related experiences of stigma and discrimination. I also study collective trauma or macro-level stressors and mental health, which is reflected in my work on the Great Recession and the 9/11 attacks. Recent projects have investigated pandemic-related stress and stigmas associated with opioid use. At present, and supported by a Switzer Fellowship from the Department of Health and Human Services (NIDILRR), I am studying the long-term impact of the Great Recession on employment trajectories and their health effects among people with disabilities.


Selected Publications:

Brown, Robyn Lewis, and Gabriele Ciciurkaite. 2023. "Precarious Employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Disability-Related Discrimination, and Mental Health." Work and Occupations 50 (2): 167-187

Brown, Robyn Lewis, and Gabriele Ciciurkaite. 2022. "Disability, Discrimination, and Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Stress Process Model." Society and Mental Health 12 (3): 215-229

Mauldin, Laura, and Brown, Robyn Lewis. 2022. "Missing Pieces: Engaging Sociology of Disability in Medical Sociology. Journal of Health and Social Behavior62(4), 477-492.

Brown, Robyn Lewis, and Evan J. Batty. 2021. “The Impact of Internalized Stigma on Physical Health Indicators and Health Care Utilization over a Three-Year Period.” Stigma and Health 6(2): 143–150.

Brown, Robyn Lewis, and Gabriele Ciciurkaite. 2021. “The ‘Own’ and the ‘Wise’ Revisited: Physical Disability and Mental Health among Couples.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 62(2): 170-182.

Brown, Robyn Lewis, and Mairead Eastin Moloney. 2019. “Intersectionality, Work and Well-Being: The Effects of Gender and Disability.” Gender & Society 33(1):94-122.

Brown, Robyn Lewis, Judith A. Richman, Myles Moody, and Kathleen M. Rospenda. 2019. “Post 9/11 Discrimination and Mental Health in the Context of the Great Recession.” Society and Mental Health 9(2): 158-170.

Brown, Robyn Lewis. 2017. “Perceived Stigma, Discrimination and Mental Health among People with Disabilities: The Conditional Effects of Coping Resources.” Stigma and Health 2(2):98-109.

Brown, Robyn Lewis. 2017. “Understanding the Influence of Stigma and Discrimination for the Functional Limitation Severity—Psychological Distress Relationship: A Stress and Coping Perspective.” Social Science Research 62:150-160.

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