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Robyn Brown


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 currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook on the Sociology of Disability, 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 chair the University of Kentucky 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 50 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 have particular interest in 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 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.