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The purpose of the current study was to describe the social perceptions of American college students towards individuals with intellectual disability (ID), identify factors that influence social perception, and determine if level of functioning alters one’s perception. The sample was comprised of 186 American college students. The participants completed the Attitudes Toward Intellectual Disability Questionnaire (ATTID). The ATTID measures five factors—discomfort towards ID, knowledge of capacity and rights, interaction with individuals with ID, sensibility/tenderness, and knowledge of causes. The students’ overall social perception towards ID was primarily positive for all factors except for sensibility/tenderness. More positive social perception was found amongst students with greater knowledge of ID and more frequent and more positive interactions with individuals with ID. Additionally, social perception was significantly more negative for lower functioning than higher functioning individuals with ID. This study helped identify factors that need more attention in awareness campaigns and educational programs.

Publication Title

Journal of Disability Policy Studies

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Copyright © 2018 Hammill Institute on Disabilities

This article has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Disability Policy Studies, published by Sage. The accepted manuscript is available through this institutional repository; the published version is available at





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