Do people with disabilities believe the ADA has served their consumer interests?

Carol Kaufman-Scarborough, Stagey Menzel Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In recent years, numerous changes in the retail sector have been made to create accessibility for people with disabilities and to establish compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This paper examines the responses of 1,000 people with disabilities taken from the 1998 National Organization on Disability/Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities. These data enable us to examine whether the consumer interests of people with disabilities have been served by this legislation from the perspective of the people whom the law was designed to protect. The findings indicate that (1) respondents who are aware of the ADA are significantly more likely than those unaware of the ADA to believe that things have gotten better since the enactment of the ADA; however, a clear majority of those who are aware still believe that the ADA has made no difference; (2) respondents believe perceived access is related to disabilities and to environmental factors; (3) respondents who perceive fewer access problems spend more time in the marketplace; and (4) greater life satisfaction is related to greater perceptions of marketplace access and more frequent participation in the marketplace. In general, the results show that respondents believe their consumer interests have been served by the ADA, but the results also show there is more to be done.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Consumer Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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