Date of this Version
Infant and Child Development (2014) 23: 170-193. DOI: 10.1002/icd.1826.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the following: (i) associations among children’s prior contact with people with disabilities and the three dimensions of children’s attitudes towards people with disabilities: children’s understanding of and their feelings about people with disabilities and their behavioral intentions to make inclusion decisions; (ii) the relation between children’s behavioral intentions to make inclusion decisions and the demands of activity contexts and the types of disabilities; and (iii) the association between parents’ attitudes and children’s attitudes. Participants included 94 typically developing four- and five-year-old preschoolers. Children’s understanding of disabilities and their prior contact with people with disabilities were found to be positively related to their feelings about people with disabilities; children’s understanding of disabilities was a significant moderator of the relation between their behavioral intentions and activity contexts or types of disabilities. The hypothesized association between parents’ attitudes and children’s attitudes was not significant. Preschoolers may benefit from having more regular contact with people with disabilities to develop positive feelings towards their peers with disabilities, which is also related to their understanding of disabilities. Children’s behavioral intentions to make inclusion decisions need to be understood in relation to their understanding of disabilities, the demand of activity contexts, and types of disabilities.
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