Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Preferred Name - First Author

Kitley, Dylan.

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Psychology

Advisor(s)

Ashton D. Trice

Abstract

Previous research on attitudes towards accommodations given to university students with disabilities has examined three groups: Faculty, disabled students, and their non-disabled peers. In general, faculty members have positive attitudes about implementing accommodations as long as they do not drastically change the curriculum. Both disabled and non-disabled students had similar positive attitudes for external disabilities such as visual impairment, cerebral palsy, and brain injury but less positive attitudes towards non-physical disabilities like depression. The purpose of this study was to see if an online educational intervention could change attitudes towards accommodations of disabilities. Participants (N = 122) were divided into four groups: one read a brief educational module on depression, one read a module on Traumatic Brain Injury, one read both the depression and TBI modules, and one read a control. They were then asked to rate the helpfulness of 10 accommodations for students with disabilities on a scale of 1 to 7, 1 being extremely unhelpful and 7 being extremely helpful. They were then asked to rate the fairness of those accommodations on the same scale. There were three disabilities rated: TBI, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and depression. Results showed that there was a significant, positive main effect for fairness among those who read about depression. (F[1,121] = 4.10, p = 0.045, eta-squared = .03). This result shows that even with a modest intervention, attitudes towards accommodations can be changed. All other hypotheses failed to reach significance; however, some possible reasons for this could be the small sample size, the short length of the intervention, and high endorsements of accommodations for students with TBI.

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