‌Understanding children's attitudes towards disability

We are pleased to announce a new academic publication in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation. The paper describes research to evaluate a commonly recommended questionnaire designed to measure children’s attitudes towards disability.

The Chedoke-McMaster Attitudes Towards Children with Handicaps questionnaire was developed in Canada in the 1980s with primary school children. Some wording had to be modified for the UK, to be acceptable to teenagers and/or because words such as ‘handicapped’ are not commonly used.

Attitudes are assessed in three areas: people’s knowledge and beliefs about an issue, their feelings about that issue, and how people say they would behave around the issue. This study recommended shorter scales (8 rather than 12 questions) that will be more precise to measures of ‘children’s feelings about disabled people’ and ‘children’s intention to behave with disabled people’. We were unable to recommend a robust scale for measuring children’s ‘beliefs about disabled people’.

The revised questionnaire and scales can be used to examine whether education programmes are effective in improving children’s attitudes towards disability.

A plain language summary of the paper has been written to be accessible to everyone, you can read this here.

The research was led by Megan Armstrong as part of her PhD, which was funded by NIHR through PenCLAHRC.

You can find out more about this project here. 

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