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2006

Discrimination

Disability Law

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The Sympathetic Discriminator: Mental Illness, Hedonic Costs, And The Ada, Elizabeth F. Emens Jan 2006

The Sympathetic Discriminator: Mental Illness, Hedonic Costs, And The Ada, Elizabeth F. Emens

Faculty Scholarship

Discrimination against people with mental illness occurs in part because of how those with mental illness can make other people feel. A psychotic person may make others feel agitated or afraid, for example, or a depressed person may make others feel sad or frustrated. Thus, a central basis for discrimination in this context is what I call hedonic costs. Hedonic costs are affective or emotional costs: an influx of negative emotion or loss of positive emotion. In addition, the phenomenon of emotional contagion, which is one source of hedonic costs, makes discrimination against people with mental illness peculiarly intractable. Emotional ...