A multidimensional study of special education students' attitudes towards people with disabilities: A focus on deafness

Hana Tur-Kaspa, Amatzia Weisel, Tova Most

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the attitudes of future professionals working with students with disabilities towards four exceptionality groups: persons with deafness, with paralysis, with mental retardation (MR) and with delinquent behaviour, and specifically examines how deafness is perceived in comparison with the three other groups. Undergraduate students' (N = 177) attitudes towards the four groups were tapped using a semantic differential scale referring to the cognitive, emotional and behavioural components of attitudes. Participants' degree of contact with people with disabilities was also reported. Results indicated that attitudes towards people with deafness were more positive than those towards the other three groups. Attitudes towards persons with paralysis were more positive than towards persons with MR and with delinquent behaviour, except when personality was considered. Emotional reactions and behavioural tendencies towards persons with delinquent behaviour were the most negative. Contact with people with disabilities had significant but low correlations with some aspects of the attitudes towards people with MR and paralysis. In general, the results of this study suggested that deafness was perceived as a physical disability and not as a social phenomenon. They also demonstrated that attitudes towards people with disabilities are a function of the particular disability condition and are multidimensional.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Special Needs Education
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2000

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Deafness
  • Delinquent behaviour
  • Mental retardation
  • Paralysis

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