Imagined Contact as a Means of Improving Attitudes towards People with Learning Disabilities and Reducing Intergroup Anxieties

Prof Doc Thesis


Price, Alessia 2016. Imagined Contact as a Means of Improving Attitudes towards People with Learning Disabilities and Reducing Intergroup Anxieties. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsPrice, Alessia
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

Background: It is well evidenced that people with learning disabilities are
exposed to multiple disadvantages including stigma and discrimination;
however, few interventions have been developed to tackle this. The aim of the
present study was to investigate the effectiveness of an intervention called
'imagined contact' as a way to improve attitudes and reduce intergroup
anxieties towards people with learning disabilities. This was the first time
imagined contact had been delivered as a face-to-face intervention for this
target group.
Method: University students (N = 107) were randomised to four experimental
conditions (imagined contact condition; imagined contact control condition;
educational film condition; and education delivered as text condition).
Participants attitudes, anxiety and desire for social distance towards people with
learning disabilities were measured post-intervention and at one-month followup.
Results: Imagined contact did not improve attitudes, reduce intergroup anxiety,
or reduce participants’ desire for social distance towards people with learning
disabilities, compared to the other experimental conditions. Instead results
indicated that imagined contact significantly increased participants’ intergroup
anxiety towards people with learning disabilities. However, at one-month followup
it was found that imagined contact reduced intergroup anxiety and desire for
social distance.
Conclusions: More exploration of the mechanisms of imagined contact are
needed, particularly for highly stigmatised groups, such as people with learning
disabilities, in order for it to be shown to be effective, above and beyond
educational interventions. Due to the small sample size and convenience
sample utilised, the findings in the present study should be viewed primarily as
pointers for recommendations for future research.

Year2016
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.15123/PUB.5389
Publication dates
PrintMay 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Nov 2016
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85134

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