Occupational therapy students' attitudes towards individuals with disabilities: A comparison between Australia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States

Ted Brown, Keli Mu, Claudia G. Peyton, Sylvia Rodger, Karen Stagnitti, Eve Hutton, Jackie Casey, Callie Watson, Chia Swee Hong, Yan hua Huang, Chin yu Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Introduction: Students who are enrolled in professional education programs such as occupational therapy may have inherent attitudes towards the future clients they work with. These attitudes may be influenced by the level of their professional education as well as cultural values of their country of origin. Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine occupational therapy students' attitudes towards individuals with disabilities from an international, cross-cultural perspective and to investigate the possible impact of professional education on students' attitudes. Method: 485 occupational therapy students from 11 university programs (3 from Australia, 3 from the United Kingdom, 3 from the United States, and 2 from Taiwan) completed the Interactions with Disabled Person's (IDP) scale. Results: Significant differences were found between occupational therapy students from Australia, Taiwan, the United States, and the United Kingdom on the following IDP variables: overall attitude towards individuals with disabilities, 'discomfort', 'sympathy', 'uncertainty', 'coping', 'fear', and 'vulnerability'. Significant differences between first year students as a total group and final year students as a total group were found on their overall attitudes towards individuals with disabilities, 'discomfort', and 'uncertainty'. Conclusion/implications: The attitudes towards individuals with disabilities among first year and final year occupational therapy students varies between countries and the students' year level also impacts on their attitudes towards individuals with a disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1541-1555
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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