ATTITUDES OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS TOWARD THE HANDICAPPED
MARGOLIES, ENID FERN
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The problem under investigation in this study was the relationship between community college students attitudes toward the handicapped and certain personality and demographic variables, i.e., the tendency to stereotype, the level of self-esteem, the need for social approval, the level of dogmatism, gender and grade level.;A total of 400 students from four community colleges in New York City were used as subjects. Twelve faculty members distributed questionnaire packets to the students in their classes. Each packet contained a brief questionnaire; the Attitude Toward Disabled Persons Scale--Form O, developed by Yuker, Block, and Younng; the Attitude Toward Old Persons Scale developed by Kogan; the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory with the need for social approval subtest; and the Short Dogmatism Scale devised by Troldahl and Powell. A cover letter stating a "disguised" purpose for the study as well as instructions for answering the questions were included. The completed packets were returned to the faculty member during the following class session.;The analysis of the relationship between attitudes toward the handicapped and certain personality and demographic variables used an alpha error of .05 to decide the statistical significance of the difference between the correlations.;Prior research findings reveal a tendency to a bimodal distribution on the ATDP, ATOP, SEI, SSEI, and SDS scales. Therefore a median split was carried out to dichotomize those scales. In addition, a natural dichotomy exists for gender and grade level of the students. The statistical procedure Chi Square followed by Phi was employed. This procedure was appropriate because the rank scores yielded by each scale were difficult to interpret as absolute ranks. It was of interest to examine whether the relationships were altered when study variables were held constant. Therefore zero-order partial rhos were calculated.;The present study findings support previous theory and research that associated negative attitudes toward the handicapped with stereotyping and negative attitudes toward outgroups; with lower self-esteem; and with greater dogmatism and rigidity. Although these findings are significant, they are relatively small; furthermore, they cannot be generalized beyond the community college population. However, they do suggest implications for interventions that may affect attitudes toward the handicapped.