Table of Contents
The purpose of the study was to examine factors that influence students’ attitudes toward colleagues with disabilities. A survey was conducted on a sample of university students, including 228 social work majors (first year = 76, second year = 76, third year = 76) to investigate how contact experience may influence social attitude toward colleagues with disabilities. This survey administered and retrieved 217 out of 228 questionnaires between February and early March 2020 that elicited participant attitude regarding disability influenced by their contact experience. The statements in the survey instruments contained variables like damaged reputation, discrimination, pressurized, worry about what people say, embarrassment, helpless, emotionally disturbed and feel inferior when interacting with disable person. After securing the quantitative data, we conducted Focus Group Discussion (FGD), themes generated from the transcribed information for analysis. The participants were segregated into a relatively homogeneous groups based on their year group to ensure harmonious interaction in the FGDs. The findings indicated that students’ general knowledge of disability and contact experience with disabled persons both at home and on campus seems to influence their positive response to the survey instruments and in the FGD. Some students were rather ambivalent about characteristics of colleagues with disabilities but felt comfortable interacting with them. A substantive minority held prejudices against persons with disabilities. The study may assist universities to provide students with improved knowledge and informed interactions with colleagues with disabilities.
Keywords: Contact experience. Discrimination. Prejudice. Disability.