Mental Disabilities

mental

 

An Investigation of Attitudes Towards People with Mental Disabilities

girls in a row

Author: Laura Jauregui
Date: October 19,2014

Problem

Does what you study impact your attitude towards people with mental disabilities? Previous research has examined the association between experience and attitudes towards people with mental disabilities (Crowson, 2010) and has found a strong positive correlation between the two variables. Researchers have also found a mild correlation between career pursued and attitudes towards people with mental disabilities (Hampton & Xiao, 2009). Very little research, however, has been done to distinguish between education and social attitudes regarding people with mental disabilities. This study looked at differences in major and its effect on both educational and social environments with people who have mental disabilities.

Method

- 74 undergraduates from the University of Dallas
- The participants completed a survey:
          - 11 Likert-type questions assessing the participant's attitude towards social and         educational inclusion of people with mental disabilities
          - Questions regarding major, grade, and both social and educational experience with people who have mental disabilities.

Results

Pearson's correlation:
- Non significant positive weak correlation between social experience and positive social attitudes
- Moderate significant positive correlation between social attitudes and self reported education
- Non significant positive weak correlation between social experience and educational attitudes
- Non significant negative weak correlation between course taken and positive educational attitudes
- Significant negative moderate correlation between course taken and self reported education.

results

Independent sample t-tests:
- Non significant results
- Non humanities majors had more positive attitudes regarding educational settings and the humanities majors had more positive attitudes regarding social settings.

Discussion

People with mental disabilities have so much to offer yet we make such few efforts to include them. The study demonstrated that the more education a person receives regarding mental disabilities, the more they realize they have yet to learn.
This study demonstrates that the factor which most impacts our attitudes is our self reported knowledge, instead of outside experiences. This suggests that our own beliefs are what impact attitudes the most.
Thus, I ask you to assess what sort of a society we as individuals are providing for others. Are our attitudes inclusive or exclusive towards those which we don't understand?