ERIC Number: ED275918
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug-26
Individual Differences in Disability Perceptions: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Investigations.
Rounds, James B., Jr.
Two studies, one cross-sectional and the other longitudinal, examined individual differences in subjective perceptions of disabilities. In study 1, 37 (22 unsuccessful and 15 successful) applicants to and 29 (12 first year and 17 second year) graduate students in a rehabilitation counseling master's degree program judged the similarity of all possible pairs of 12 disabilities. The similarity judgments were scaled with a three-way multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis, yielding a three-dimensional solution. Regressing each of 14 attribute ratings onto the MDS stimulus coordinates suggested that the dimensions of normality, severity, and responsibility were significant components of the disability perceptions. Comparison of the students' disability perceptions with dimensions identified from a reanalysis of Tringo's (1970) social distance data provided evidence for the external validity of the normality and severity dimensions. The unsuccessful applicants gave significantly more weight to the normality dimension than did the second year students in judging the similarities among disabilities. In study 2, 14 rehabilitation counseling students completed the questionnaire developed in study 1 at three time points: application, end of first year, and end of the second year of a 2-year master's program. The normality, severity, and responsibility dimensions found using a cross-sectional methodology emerged in the longitudinal MDS analysis. The structure of disability perceptions remained stable across the 2 years of the program. The normality and sensory dimensions became less important and the responsibility dimension more salient as training progressed. The application of MDS to disability perceptions and the relationship of disability perceptions to attitudes toward disabilities and rehabilitation training are discussed. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (94th, Washington, DC, August 22-26, 1986). For related document, see CG 019 478.