Title

Variables Affecting College Career Counselor Attitudes Toward Individuals With Disabilities

Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Arthur Southerland

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine college career counselors' attitudes toward individuals with disabilities. Additionally, this study examined the relationship between career counselors' attitudes toward individuals with disabilities and the independent variables of personal characteristics, college characteristics, and experience with individuals who have disabilities. Data were collected for this study through the use of two surveys, the Attitude Toward Disabled Persons Scale-form O developed by Yuker, Block and Campbell (1960); and a Demographic Data Sheet developed by the researcher. Participants in this study were career counselors employed by 4-year college career offices in the continental United States and were also members of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Directors of 400 career offices were mailed a packet containing two sets of surveys to be distributed to the two individuals primarily responsible for career counseling, providing a potential pool of 800 participants. A total of 272 (at least 34%) useable surveys were received. Results from the analysis of data indicated a significant relationship between the independent variables and attitudes toward individuals with disabilities. In addition, a significant independent relationship was found between attitudes toward individuals with disabilities and the independent variables of personal characteristics and experience with individuals who have disabilities. Further examination of the independent variables revealed that predictors of more positive attitudes toward individuals with disabilities included participants who were female, had professional encounters with learning disabilities, personal and professional encounters with blindness/visual impairments, lived in the northeastern or western regions of the United States, and had relatives who had a disability. In addition, one predictor of less positive attitudes was the number of years experience participants had in their current position.