Secondary school students’ and college students’ attitudes towards themselves, others and individuals with disabilities
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Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The main aim of the current study was to investigate the attitudes of secondary school students and college students towards themselves, others (without disabilities) and individuals with disabilities. It also investigated any gender and age differences, whether knowing someone with a disability and the level experiences with individuals with disabilities would produce a more positive attitude compared to those who do not know someone and have no experience. This design also explored whether participants having a high level of life-orientation, self-esteem and empathy towards themselves, would produce a more positive attitude towards individuals with and without disabilities. A quantitative correlational design with questionnaires was used. A total of n= 300 took part, including 137 males, 163 females and 186 secondary school students and 114 college students. The results showed that females had a significantly more positive attitude towards males on acceptance of others and individuals with disabilities. No significant result was found in knowing someone with a disability and not knowing someone. However, more than one experience type showed a more positive attitude than having no experience of disabilities. Older students showed a less positive attitude in the acceptance of others (without disabilities) and a more positive attitude towards individuals with disabilities than younger students. A significant relationship between acceptance to others and attitudes towards individuals with disabilities was also found. Results from this study will provide a basis to supply life-orientation, self-esteem, empathy, acceptance to others and disability awareness programmes within the Irish educational system, creating positive attitudes of students towards themselves, others and individuals with disabilities. Author keywords: attitudes, self-esteem, empathy, life-orientation, acceptance of others, disabilities