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Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities: A Comparison of Rehabilitation Nurses, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists


University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, School of Nursing, 1100 Holcombe Boulevard, Suite 5.518, Houston, TX 77030.


This descriptive study was designed to explore the attitudes of rehabilitation nurses, occupational therapists, and physical therapists toward people with disabilities. Attitudes were measured by using the Attitudes Toward Disabled Persons Scale, Form B (ATDP-B). The sample included 150 rehabilitation nurses, 57 occupational therapists, and 43 physical therapists in southeast Texas. Findings suggest that the majority (67%) of the healthcare professionals had positive attitudes toward people with disabilities. Occupational therapists had significantly higher scores than the rehabilitation nurses and physical therapists. Practice setting, age, educational level, and amount of experience had no significant effect on attitude scores. ATDP-B scores tended to increase with work experience, but not to a statistically significant degree. An analysis of the rehabilitation nurses' attitude scores showed that practice setting, age, and educational level had no significant effect. Experience seemed to be correlated with higher attitude scores, although the relationship was not statistically significant.