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Thomas Dirth

Thomas Dirth
Associate Professor of Psychology


My scholarly interests and priorities are distinctly shaped by my experience as a physically disabled person. They include domains of diversity/multiculturalism, stigma, stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and the social identity approach to advantaged/disadvantaged identity experiences, in conjunction with a wide range of disability-related phenomena elaborated within the interdisciplinary field of Disability Studies.

I am passionate about teaching coursework that incorporates multicultural and marginalized perspectives to critically consider the psychological knowledge base. I am an advocate for greater access and inclusion of disabled perspectives (students, faculty, staff) in higher education.

I enjoy spending my free time with my spouse and my dog. Some of my favorite things include coffee, coffee shops, beer, breweries, Harry Potter, sports, movies, and talking about Harry Potter, sports, and/or movies over coffee or beer.

Honors Council Lecture: “Bridging Disability Studies and Psychological Science: A Research Agenda for 21st Century Disability Psychology”

Diversity Podcast: Disability Awareness Month


B.A. Psychology — Wartburg College, Waverly, IA

M.A. Psychology (Social) — University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA.

Ph.D. Psychology (Social) — University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.


PSY1100: Introductory Psychology; PSY2925: People of the Environment, Psychological Perspective; PSY3367: Social Psychology; PSY3387: Special topics, Psychology of Disability: PSY4487: Multicultural Psychology; PSY4587: Advanced Topics, Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Recent Work

Dirth, T. P., & Branscombe, N. R. (2018). The social identity approach to disability: Bridging disability studies and psychological science. Psychological bulletin, 144(12), 1300.

Dirth, T. P., & Branscombe, N. R. (2019). Recognizing ableism: A social identity analysis of disabled people perceiving discrimination as illegitimate. Journal of Social Issues, 75(3), 786-813.

Dirth, T. P., & Adams, G. A. (2019). Decolonial theory and disability studies: On the modernity/coloniality of ability. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 7(1), 260-289.

Dirth, T. P., & Branscombe, N. R. (2017). Disability models affect disability policy support through awareness of structural discrimination. Journal of Social Issues, 73(2), 413-442