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Promoting Positive Attitudes Toward People With Down Syndrome: The Benefit of School Inclusion Programs1

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  • 1

    This research was supported by the research funding program of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (DIPUC #2921 108); by AleChile Cooperative Research Grant (415-RC-Alechile) funded by the National Commission of Scientific and Technological Research, Chile; and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Germany. Preliminary reports of these data were presented at IVth Ibero-American Congress in Chile, July 2004. The data presented in this paper were collected as part of the first author's thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master's degree of in psychology at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, July 2003.

Roberto González, Escuela de Psicología, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Campus San Joaquin, Macul, Santiago, Chile. E-mail: rgonzale@puc.cl

Abstract

The effects of school inclusion programs on male and female nondisabled students' stereotypes and attitudes toward people with Down syndrome were studied. Nondisabled students (11–15 years of age) from schools with and without inclusion programs reported positive and negative attitudes toward people with Down syndrome. As hypothesized, girls and students attending schools with inclusion programs showed more favorable attitudes toward people with Down syndrome than did boys and students attending schools without inclusion programs, respectively. Interaction effects of school system and sex of participant suggest that boys' attitudes, in particular, benefit from inclusive schooling. The study provides evidence for the effectiveness of inclusion programs in ameliorating prejudice and intergroup anxiety; and in promoting positive attitudes, affect, and trust.

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