Research Article  |   October 2017
Impact of a Fieldwork Experience on Attitudes Toward People With Intellectual Disabilities
Author Affiliations
  • Allison Sullivan, DOT, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, School of Health Sciences, American International College, Springfield, MA; allison.sullivan@aic.edu
  • Rochelle Mendonca, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, College of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Mental Health / Education
Research Article   |   October 2017
Impact of a Fieldwork Experience on Attitudes Toward People With Intellectual Disabilities
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 2017, Vol. 71, 7106230010p1-7106230010p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.025460
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 2017, Vol. 71, 7106230010p1-7106230010p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.025460
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The objective of this study was to describe the effects of curriculum activities on changing attitudes of health professional students toward people with intellectual disabilities (IDs).

METHOD. A nonrandomized, pretest–posttest design was used. Participants were college students assigned to one of three groups: two groups of students from different years in the occupational therapy program and one group of public health students. Each group completed the Attitudes Toward Intellectual Disabilities Questionnaire before and after each intervention.

RESULTS. No significant differences were found in change of attitude after a lecture on the effects of stigma on people with disabilities. Length of time in program, age, and amount of experience with people with IDs affected changes in attitude for occupational therapy students after a fieldwork intervention.

CONCLUSION. Level I fieldwork significantly improved the attitudes of occupational therapy students toward people with IDs, whereas a lecture did not.