Can interpersonal contact help improve attitudes toward soldiers with intellectual disability? An Israeli study

S. Werner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: It has been argued that interpersonal contact is the best intervention for reducing negative attitudes and discrimination toward individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). In Israel, the Equal in Uniform project makes it possible for individuals with ID to serve alongside soldiers without ID in ordinary military units in the Israeli Defense Forces. The project provided the opportunity to examine the effect of contact on the attitudes of soldiers without ID. Methods: Data analyses are based on data collected from 220 soldiers without ID via a self-administered questionnaire based on the Multidimensional Attitudes Scale. Of these, 138 were in contact with soldiers with ID as part of the project. Results: A mediation model showed that the impact of contact with a soldier with ID on withdrawal behaviour was mediated by cognitive attributions and negative affect. Contact was directly associated with prosocial behaviour. Discussion: Results support the importance of contact between soldiers with and without ID to bring about improved attitudes toward the former.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1162-1173
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Volume61
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Keywords

  • behaviours
  • military
  • prosocial
  • social distance
  • withdrawal

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