Author(s): Tervo RC, Palmer G, Redinius P
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate health professional student attitudes toward people with disability. It was hypothesized that attitude and comfort would differ by discipline. Further, it was hypothesized that factors such as gender and background in disability would influence these attitudes and their ease in dealing with difficult encounters in rehabilitation. DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey design. SETTING: University of South Dakota (USD) PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred and thirty-eight students were surveyed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: (a) Attitude Toward Disabled Persons (ATDP) scale; (b) Scale of Attitudes Toward Disabled Persons (SADP); (c) Rehabilitation Situations Inventory (RSI). RESULTS: There were differences among student groups on the attitude scales and factor scores. All students' attitudes were less positive than SADP norms and nursing students held the least positive opinions. There were no attitudinal differences by gender. Those with a background in disability held more positive attitudes. Years of experience and hours per week employed predicted comfort with challenging rehabilitation situations. Inconsiderate treatment by staff, inappropriate sexual overtures and aggressive behaviour by patients were stated to be most challenging. CONCLUSION: Health professional students hold less positive attitudes than SADP norms. Nursing undergraduate students were at greater risk of holding negative attitudes. Work experience was important for comfort with challenging rehabilitation situations. Specific educational experiences are needed to promote more positive attitudes.
This article was published in Clin Rehabil
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation