Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol. 13 No. 1 (2022): Young people, institutions and territories

Societal Attitudes Toward Persons with Disabilities in the Italian Province of Macerata

March 3, 2022


Persons with disabilities are a marginalized group in most nations. They are often subjected to both subtle prejudice and explicit discrimination. The purpose of the present study was to examine the attitudes of university students toward persons with disabilities. A total of 124 participants were recruited from a public university in Macerata, Italy. The Attitudes to Disability Scale (Power et al., 2010) was used to measure attitudes. The results showed that although many of the participants did not see having a disabled family member as a burden to family, they saw it as a burden to society. Age, major (course), prior contact, and gender were not significant variables in the acceptance of disability. Future directions for research were discussed.


  1. Abbott S. & McConkey R. (2006). The barriers to social inclusion as perceived by people with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 10(3): 275-287.
  2. Antonak F. R., & Livneh H. (2000). Measurement of attitudes towards persons with disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation, 22(5): 211-224.
  3. Au K. W., & Man D. W. K. (2006). Attitudes toward people with disabilities: A comparison between health care professionals and students. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 29(2): 155-160.
  4. Avramidis E. (2013). Self-concept, social position and social participation of pupils with SEN in mainstream primary schools. Research Papers in Education, 28(4): 421-442.
  5. Ayelet G., & Roni K. (2020). Attitudes toward persons with disabilities among community centers’ management staff members: A brief report. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 63(3): 187-191. Doi: 10.1177/0034355219878494.
  6. Balboni G., & Pedrabissi L. (2000). Attitudes of Italian teachers and parents toward school inclusion of students with mental retardation: The role of experience. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 35(2): 148-159.
  7. Blackman S. (2016). Barbadian Students’ Attitudes towards Including Peers with Disabilities in Regular Education. International Journal of Special Education, 31(1): 135-143.
  8. Budisch K. (2004). Correlates of college students’ attitudes toward disabilities. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Journal of Undergraduate Research, 7: 1-5.
  9. Chen R. K., Austin B. S., & Lin C. C. (2017). Acculturation and filial piety as mediators of the relationship between caregiver burden and gender-role expectations. Internet Journal of Allied Health and Sciences Practice, 15(4): 1-11.
  10. Chen R. K., Brodwin M. G., Cardoso, E., & Chan, F. (2002). Attitudes toward people with disabilities in the social context of dating and marriage: A comparison of American, Taiwanese, and Singaporean college students. Journal of Rehabilitation, 68(4): 5-11.
  11. Chukwu N. E., Okoye U. O., Onyeneho N. G., & Okeibunor J. C. (2019). Coping strategies of families of persons with learning disability in Imo state of Nigeria. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 38(9): 1-9. Doi: 10.1186/s41043-019-0168-2.
  12. Cohen J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  13. Commodari E., & Pirrone C. (2011). L'integrazione scolastica del disabile: il punto di vista degli alunni. Annali della Facolta di Scienze della formazione Università degli studi di Catania, 3-91.
  14. Cook B. G., Cameron D. L. & Tankersley M. (2007). Inclusive teachers’ attitudinal ratings of their students with disabilities. Journal of Special Education, 40(4): 230-238.
  15. Cornoldi C., Terreni A., Scruggs T., & Mastropieri, M. (1998). Teacher attitudes in Italy after twenty years of inclusion. Remedial and Special Education, 19(6): 133-142. Doi: 10.1177/074193259801900605.
  16. Darrow A. A., & Johnson C. M. (1994). Junior and senior high school music students’ attitudes toward individuals with a disability. Journal of Music Therapy, 31: 266-279.
  17. De Boer A., Pijl S. J., Minnaert A., & Post W. (2014). Evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention program to influence attitudes of students towards peers with disabilities. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(3): 572-583.
  18. De Caroli M. E., & Sagone E. (2006). Salienza della “disabilità” e vissuti di distanza sociale verso i coetanei con SD in età adolescenziale. GID – Giornale Italiano delle Disabilità. Salienza della “disabilità” e vissuti di distanza sociale verso i coetanei con SD in età adolescenziale, VI(3): 33-45.
  19. De Caroli M.E., Sagone E., & Falanga R. (2007). Sé professionale e atteggiamenti sociali verso la disabilità negli insegnanti di sostegno della scuola dell’infanzia, primaria e media inferiore. Giornale Italiano delle Disabilità, 7: 15-26.
  20. De Laat S., Freriksen E., & Vervloed M. P. (2013). Attitudes of children and adolescents toward persons who are deaf, blind, paralyzed or intellectually disabled. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34(2): 855-863.
  21. Falanga R., De Caroli M. E., & Sagone E. (2020). Is it possible to enhance positive attitudes towards people with disability? A training with Italian university students. New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Humanities and Social Sciences, 7(3): 27-33.
  22. Faul F., Erdfelder E., Buchner A., & Lang A.-G. (2009). Statistical power analyses using G*Power 3.1: Tests for correlation and regression analyses. Behavior Research Methods, 41(4): 1149-1160.
  23. Findler L., Vilchinsky N., & Werner S. (2007). The multidimensional Attitudes Scale toward persons with disabilities (MAS): Construction and validation. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 50(3): 166-176. Doi: 10.1177/00343552070500030401.
  24. Fortini M. E. (1987). Attitudes and behavior toward students with handicaps by their nonhandicapped peers. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 92(1): 78-84.
  25. Freer J. R. (2021). Students’ attitudes toward disability: A systematic literature review (2012-2019). International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1-19. Published online: 08 Jan 2021. Doi: 10.1080/13603116.2020.1866688.
  26. Gash H., & Coffey D. (1995). Influences on attitudes towards children with mental handicap. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 10(1): 1-16. Doi: 10.1080/0885625950100101.
  27. Giaconi C. (2015). Qualità della Vita e adulti con disabilità. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  28. Goodman H., Gottlieb J., & Harrison R. H. (1972). Social acceptance of EMRs integrated into a nongraded elementary school. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 76: 412-417.
  29. Hamdy N. N., Auter P. J., Humphrey V. F., & Attia A. (2011). A cultural perspective: A survey of U.S. and Egyptian students regarding their perceptions of people with disabilities. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1(5): 83-93.
  30. Hellmich F., & Löper M. F. (2018). Primary school students’ attitudes and their perceived teacher behavior towards peers with special educational needs. Empirische Sonderpädagogik, 10(2): 151-166.
  31. Huskin P. R., Reiser-Robbins C., & Kwon S. (2018). Attitudes of undergraduate students toward persons with disabilities: Exploring effects of contact experience on social distance across ten disability types. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 62(1): 53-63. Doi: 10.1177/0034355217727600.
  32. Hutzler Y., Meier S., Reuker S., & Zitomer M. (2019). Attitudes and self-efficacy of physical education teachers toward inclusion of children with disabilities: a narrative review of international literature. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 24(3): 249-266.
  33. Jahoda A., & Markova I. (2004). Coping with social stigma: People with intellectual disabilities moving from institutions and family home. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 48: 719-729.
  34. Kalargyrou V., Pettinico W., & Chen P. J. (2021). Attitudes toward people with physical disabilities: An examination of social context, discipline, disability type, and demographics. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 54(2): 117-133. Doi: 10.3233/JVR-201124.
  35. Little R. J. A. (1988). A test of missing completely at random for multivariate data with missing values. Journal of American Statistical Association, 83(404): 1198-1202. doi: 10.1080/01621459.1988.10478722.
  36. Marini I., Chen R. K., Feist A. M., Flores-Torres L., & Del Castillo A. (2011). Student attitudes toward intimacy with persons who are wheelchair users. Rehabilitation Education, 25(1): 15-26.
  37. McConkey R., & Truesdale M. (2000). Reactions of nurses and therapists in mainstream health services to contact with people who have learning disabilities. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32(1): 158-163.
  38. McConnell D., & Savage A. (2015). Stress and resilience among families caring for children with intellectual disability: Expanding the research agenda. Current Developmental Disorders Reports, 2(2): 100-109. Doi: 10.1007/s40474-015-0040-z.
  39. Mertler C. A., & Reinhart R. V. (2017). Advanced and multivariate statistical methods: Practical application and interpretation (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
  40. Miller E., Chen R. K., Graf N. M., & Kranz P. L. (2009). Willingness to engage in personal relationships with persons with disabilities: Examining category and severity of disability. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 52(4): 211-224. Doi: 10.1177/0034355209332719.
  41. Olaleye A., Ogundele O., Deji S., Ajayi O., Olaleye O., & Adeyanju T. (2012). Attitudes of students towards peers with disability in an inclusive school in Nigeria. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 23(3): 65-75.
  42. Parashar D., Chan F., & Leierer S. (2008). Factors influencing Asian Indian graduate students’ attitudes toward people with disabilities: A conjoint analysis. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 51(4): 229-239. Doi: 10.1177/0034355207311317.
  43. Perales F., & Campbell A. (2018). Who supports equal rights for same-sex couples? Evidence from Australia. Family Matters, 100: 28-41.
  44. Petry K. (2018). The relationship between class attitudes towards peers with a disability and peer acceptance, friendships and peer interactions of students with a disability in regular secondary schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 33(2): 254-268.
  45. Power M. J., Green A. M., & The WHOQOL-DIS Group (2010). The Attitudes to Disability Scale (ADS): Development and psychometric properties. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 54(9): 860-874.
  46. Schalock R. L., Verdugo M. A., & Braddock D. L. (2002). Handbook on quality of life for human service practitioners (pp. 1-430). Washington, DC: American Association on Mental Retardation.
  47. Schwab S. (2017). The impact of contact on students’ attitudes towards peers with disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 62: 160-165.
  48. Seo W. S., & Chen R. K. (2009). Attitudes of college students toward people with disabilities. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 40(4): 3-8.
  49. Shokoohi-Yekta M., & Hendrickson J. M. (2010). Friendships with peers with severe disabilities: American and Iranian secondary students' ideas about being a friend. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 45(1): 23-37.
  50. Smart J. (2016). Disability, society, and the individual (3rd edition). Austin, TX: Pro-ed.
  51. Tait K., & Purdie N. (2000). Attitudes toward disability: Teacher education for inclusive environments in an Australian university. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 47(1): 25-38.
  52. Tamm M., & Prellwitz M. (2001). ‘If I had a friend in a wheelchair’: Children’s thoughts on disabilities. Child: Care, Health and Development, 27(3): 223-240.
  53. Tang C. S., Davis C., Wu A., & Oliver C. (2000). Chinese children’s attitudes toward mental retardation. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 12(1): 73-87.
  54. Tervo R. C., Palmer G., & Redinius P. (2004). Health professional student attitudes toward people with disability. Clinical Rehabilitation, 18(8): 908-915.
  55. World Health Organization (2001). International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health. World Health Organization.
  56. World Health Organization (2007). International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health: Children & Youth Version: ICF-CY. World Health Organization.


Metrics Loading ...

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>