Intellectual Disability Literacy and Stigma in Austria, Germany, and the UK

Resource Type
  • Zeilinger, Elisabeth L. (Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)
  • Scior, Katrina (Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
stigma; label; learning disabilities
  • Abstract

    Article 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities requires governments around the globe to raise awareness on issues of disability in their societies, combatting stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices. Little comparative data is available on lay people's social representations of intellectual disability and associated stigma, which could inform actions in line with the convention. This study aimed to compare intellectual disability literacy and stigma among adults in the general population in the UK, Austria and Germany (N=1046), and to examine the effects of providing an intellectual disability label on these outcomes.

    For the assessment of ID literacy and stigma, the Intellectual Disability Literacy Scale (IDLS) by Scior and Furnham (2013) was used. This instrument consists of a vignette, describing a person with a mild ID, and a questionnaire. The questionnaire comprises three parts, namely recognition (1 item), causal and intervention beliefs (44 items), and social distance (4 items). In the first part of the IDLS, participants are presented with a diagnostically labelled or unlabelled vignette. Both vignette versions were identical other than inclusion/omission of a diagnostic label, consisting of ‘learning disability (mental handicap)’ in the UK and ‘intellektuelle Behinderung (geistige Behinderung)’ in Austria and Germany. Of the UK sample 265 (50.38%) participants received the labelled version, and 258 (49.62%) of the Austrian/German sample.

    Additionally to the IDLS, we assessed prior contact to persons with ID via two items: We determined if the respondent ever had contact to a person with ID (yes/no), and how close this contact was (rated on a 9 point scale where 1 = not at all close, 5 = somewhat close and 9 = extremely close). As sociodemographis variables, we assessed age, gender, level of education, and religion.
Geographic Coverage
  • Austria; Germany; UK

Update Metadata: 2020-07-07 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-07-07