Date of this Version
Jacobs, C. 2020. The effect of high school disability-based peer mentoring on perspectives toward people with disabilities. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Negative perspectives towards people with disabilities have been shown to lead to discrimination, prejudice, and an overall decreased quality of life. One way to possibly improve attitudes and interactions with students with disabilities could be implementing peer mentoring programs for special education students in high school. Research presented in this thesis examines the difference in perspectives toward people with disabilities between people who have or have not participated as a mentor in a disability-based peer mentoring program in high school. Data were collected through an online survey that assessed peer mentoring experiences as well as a scale to measure comfort when interacting with people who have disabilities. Results of the survey showed that those who did have experience as a peer mentor had no significant difference in attitudes towards peers with disabilities than those with no peer mentoring experience. However, peer mentoring was a factor that accounted for 6% of difference on a scale measuring attitudes toward people with disabilities. In conclusion, peer mentoring experience could lead to more positive perspectives toward people with disabilities which could also lessen discrimination and lead to better outcomes for students with disabilities but there are also other factors that could account for more positive attitudes.