Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Attitudes toward individuals with disabilities were examined using two different methods: (a) the Implicit Association Test assessing general implicit attitudes and (b) a vignette study assessing coworker attitudes. The Implicit Association Test was used in an attempt to replicate Tringo's Hierarchy of Preference using five exemplar disabilities: (a) Cancer, (b) Paraplegic, (c) Mental Illness, (d) Alcoholic, and (e) HIV Positive. The results did not support a replication of the Hierarchy of Preference. Three dimensions of disabilities were manipulated for the vignette study. These dimensions were the overtness of the disability, the level of risk associated with the disability, and response of the individual with the disability to their environment. The participants rated the individual in the vignette on perceived competence of the individual, potential tolerance of the individual, and potential befriending of the individual by coworkers. The response dimension and the risk dimension influenced ratings on the dependent variables while the overtness dimension did not. Furthermore, no relationship was found between scores on the five IAT tests and ratings on competence, tolerance, and befriending. Taken together, the results of the current study indicate that further studies are warranted to determine if the IAT is a valid measure of attitudes toward individuals with disabilities.


Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Psychology