Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. MaryAnn Romski - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Jaye Atkinson

Third Advisor

Dr. Yuki Fujioka

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Carol Winkler


Some people without disabilities may use patronizing speech when they talk to people with cognitive disabilities. This study asked college-aged students without disabilities to evaluate patronizing speech toward people with cognitive disabilities. They randomly read either one of two vignettes; in one vignette a cashier with no disability used patronizing speech toward a customer with a cognitive disability, and in the other vignette a cashier with no disability used nonpatronizing speech toward a customer with a cognitive disability. The participants evaluated the patronizing speech as being significantly less professional, appropriate, and common than the nonpatronizing speech. They rated the cashier as feeling significantly more warm, supportive, and nurturing when s/he used patronizing speech, and the customer as feeling significantly less respect when spoken to through patronizing speech. Significantly more participants believed they would have spoken differently than the cashier when s/he used patronizing speech.

Included in

Communication Commons