This study explored the malleability of attitudes with the goal of improving social inclusion for a stigmatized group, specifically individuals with developmental disabilities. Contact Theory was used as an intentional structure for meaningful intergroup contact to assess, understand, and improve meanings applied to individuals with disabilities at an inclusive summer day camp. Adolescent volunteers were administered quantitative questionnaires utilizing the Contact with Disabled Persons Scale (CDP) and the Multi-Dimensional Attitude Scale (MAS). Collected data were used to determine the efficacy of involvement in an inclusive recreation program on adolescent participants' attitudes toward disability. After a covariate-adjusted regression analysis, contact with individuals with disabilities was found to significantly predict change in attitudes toward disability. Dyadic interviews were held after camp participation to provide additional sources of data with potential for deeper understanding of the camp experience for the volunteers. The data suggested participants perceived camp as a setting for the development of reciprocal relationships with peers who have developmental disabilities. These relationships further framed participants' understanding of the experience as fun, difficult, and resulting in perceived personal change. Implications for future research are discussed.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Recreation Management
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Fort, Megan, "Inclusive Recreation: The Malleability of Attitudes Toward Disability Through Peer Interaction" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 5687.
Contact theory, attitudes, disability, adolescents, inclusive recreation