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Attitudes towards individuals with disabilities as measured by the Implicit Association Test: A literature review

Wilson, MC; Scior, K; (2013) Attitudes towards individuals with disabilities as measured by the Implicit Association Test: A literature review. Res Dev Disabil , 35 (2) 294 - 321. 10.1016/j.ridd.2013.11.003.

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Abstract

Research investigating attitudes towards individuals with disabilities has largely focused on self-reported explicit attitudes. Given that factors such as social desirability may influence explicit attitudes, researchers have developed tools which instead assess less consciously controllable implicit attitudes. Considering research on implicit attitudes thus seems pertinent. A review of studies measuring implicit attitudes towards individuals with physical disabilities (visual, motor or hearing) or intellectual disabilities via the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) was carried out. Systematic searches of PsycINFO, CINAHL, EMBASE, ERIC, MEDLINE, PUBMED, Scopus and Web of Science databases identified relevant articles published between January 2000 and September 2012. Seventeen articles (reporting on 18 studies that employed the IAT) were identified. These investigated implicit attitudes towards individuals with; physical disabilities (N=13), intellectual disabilities (N=3), both physical and intellectual disabilities (N=1), and 'unspecified disabilities' (N=1). Across all studies, moderate to strong negative implicit attitudes were found and there was little to no association between explicit and implicit attitudes. Individuals' beliefs about the controllability of their future, sensitivity to the concept of disease, and contact with individuals with disabilities appear to be associated with implicit attitudes. A consistent pattern of moderate to strong negative implicit attitudes towards individuals with disabilities was evident. These studies provide a starting point, but methodological issues related to sampling and the employed IATs limit the generalizability of these results. Further research investigating implicit attitudes towards specific disability types, with a wider subject pool are necessary as well as further investigation of factors that contribute to these attitudes.

Type: Article
Title: Attitudes towards individuals with disabilities as measured by the Implicit Association Test: A literature review
DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2013.11.003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2013.11.003
Keywords: Disability, Implicit Association Test, Implicit attitudes, Intellectual disabilities, Physical disabilities, Review
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1414148
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