Student paper exploring attitudes of support workers towards individuals with intellectual disabilities

Undergraduate student Natalie Golding and Professor John Rose have published a paper in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities which explores support workers’ attitudes and knowledge towards individuals with intellectual disabilities to see whether a new attitude scale needs to be developed.

Support workers from a charitable organisation located in the West Midlands participated in one of four focus groups conducted in late 2013. Thematic analysis was then conducted which identified the emergent themes from the focus groups. 

Five themes emerged from the analysis: discrimination of people with intellectual disabilities, attitude change, impacts of integration, their role as a carer and the impact of training. Only one theme, ‘the impacts of integration’, is clearly represented in current attitude scales; ‘their role as a carer’ and ‘discrimination of people with intellectual disabilities’ are partially represented.

The results suggest that current attitude scales do not accurately measure the attitudes of support workers; therefore a modified attitude scale could be developed to incorporate findings from this study.