Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in School and Public Librarianship


Special Educational Services/Instruction


College of Education


Shontz, Marilyn


People with mental disabilities in literature; Young adult literature--Stories, plots, etc.


Library and Information Science


The purpose of this study was to closely examine twenty works of young adult fiction that featured a character with either a mental or emotional disability. Specifically, it addressed the following research questions: 1.) What percentage of the books evaluated portrayed the disabled character as a major character or a supporting character? 2.) What percentage of the books were written from or included the disabled character's point-of-view? 3.) What percentage of the books portrayed the disabled character as a dynamic as opposed to a static character? 4.) Did the character's disability play a major role or a minor role in the story's plot? 5.) Were the symptoms, treatments, and side effects of the featured disability accurate and believable? Conclusions showed that the majority of the novels portrayed the character as both a major and dynamic character and the story was told from the main character's point-of-view. Additionally, the disabilities played a major role in the story's plot in all twenty novels evaluated. Lastly, the researcher found that most of the novels included the symptoms of the disabilities presented but shied away from going into detail their subsequent treatments.