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Disabil Rehabil. 2013 Feb;35(4):300-5. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.691941. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Enhancing positive attitudes towards disability: evaluation of an integrated physiotherapy program.

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Monash University, Physiotherapy, School of Primary Health Care, Frankston, Australia.



This study explored whether attitudes towards disability in second year undergraduate physiotherapy students could be enhanced by an on-campus integrated curriculum program.


A pre-post design was used. Year 2 (pre-clinical) students participated in a 12-week program focused on optimising attitudes towards people with acquired or developmental neurological disability. The Discomfort subscale of the Interaction with Disabled Persons scale, rated on a six-point Likert scale, was applied prior to and at completion of the 12-week program, and compared to year 4 students, just prior to graduation. Qualitative data from year 2 reflective narratives was also gathered.


Forty-seven second year and 45 fourth year physiotherapy students participated. The difference in Discomfort subscale scores between weeks 1 and 12 of year 2 was statistically significant (p = 0.0016). The difference in Discomfort subscale scores between year 2 week 1 and year 4 students was also statistically significant (p = 0.040). There was no significant difference in attitudes between students at the end of year 2 and the end of year 4 (p = 0.703). Qualitative data supported the development of more positive attitudes towards neurological disability across the 12 week year 2 pre-clinical program.


Student attitudes towards people with acquired and/or developmental neurological disabilities can be enhanced through an on campus integrated curriculum program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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