Childhood disability, social class and social mobility: A neglected relationship

Stella Chatzitheochari*, Sanne Velthuis, Roxanne Connelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disability theorists have long highlighted the role of institutional, social, and environmental barriers in constructing disability, emphasizing its parallels with other socially constructed axes of stratification. However, despite theoretical developments toward sociological understandings of disability, social stratification and life-course research have largely neglected childhood disability as a social division. As a result, we still know little surrounding the socio-economic attainment of disabled children and young people. Drawing on Next Steps data, this research note highlights stark overlooked inequalities between disabled and non-disabled young people's activity status and social mobility in early adulthood. We specifically focus on the importance of social class for disabled young people's outcomes, emphasizing the need for intersectional analyses of disability inequalities. We also outline longitudinal survey data enhancements necessary for life-course research on childhood disability and its intersections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Early online date5 Sep 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sep 2022


  • childhood disability
  • intersectionality
  • social class
  • social mobility
  • social stratification


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