Predicting dispositions toward inclusion of students with disabilities: the role of conservative ideology and discomfort with disability
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- Brandes, J.A. & Crowson, H.M. Soc Psychol Educ (2009) 12: 271. doi:10.1007/s11218-008-9077-8
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Within the published empirical record, a limited number of investigations exist that study the association between socio-political ideologies of preservice teachers and their attitudes toward disability-related matters within schools. To the extent that individual socio-political ideology and discomfort with disability remain mostly unexplored, this state of affairs may unwittingly compromise the capacity of future educators to assist students with special needs. The purpose of our study was to test relationships between preservice teachers’ conservative ideologies and discomfort with disability on the one hand and perceived negative attitudes toward students with disabilities and opposition to inclusion on the other. Our correlational findings indicate that preservice educators who report being higher in social dominance orientation, right-wing authoritarianism, economic and cultural conservatism, and discomfort with disabilities are more likely to oppose inclusion and to hold negative attitudes toward students with disabilities. Regression analyses revealed that social dominance orientation and discomfort with disability were stronger predictors of negative attitudes toward students with disabilities and opposition to inclusion than cultural conservatism/right-wing authoritarianism. These findings lend support to teacher preparation programs assisting preservice teachers in understanding (a) their attitudes toward inclusion and students with disabilities and (b) the impact their dispositions may have on their future effectiveness in supporting these students in their efforts to become productive and independent members of society.