Public attitudes to the rights and community inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities: A transnational study

Paul F Slater, ROY MCCONKEY, Ashlyn Smith, Lindsay Dubois, Amy Shellard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Public support for the rights of persons with intellectual disability (ID) and their acceptance in local communities has been rarely studied internationally and the variables associated with more positive attitudes remain to be confirmed.

Aims: To develop and test a model that brought together personal, organisational and national predictors related to public attitudes that have been previously identified in past research.

Methods and Procedures: Self-completed, online surveys were undertaken with market research panels in 17 countries and in eight cities in the USA with a total of 36,508 respondents who were representative in terms of gender and age. Path analysis was used to explore the inter-relationships among the predictor, possible mediating and outcomes variables.

Outcomes and Results: The resulting model was a good fit for the data. Support for the rights and community acceptance of people with ID was highest among university educated respondents, those who were comfortable at meeting people with ID and those living in countries with very high ratings on the Inequality Adjusted Human Development Index.

Conclusions and Implications: The model could guide further research into public attitudes alongside the development of interventions to promote more positive attitudes. Further research into the validity of the model is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103754
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Early online date27 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the United States Office of Special Education Programs , ESPN (the Global Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports) and the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union . The data gathering was undertaken by Kantar Millward Brown.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • intellectual disability
  • Rights
  • inclusion
  • General public
  • international
  • Special Olympics


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