College Students’ Self-Efficacy, Knowledge, and Attitudes about Disability
Keywords:disability, health promotion and education, knowledge, self-efficacy, attitude, professional development
Background: People with disabilities (PWD) are at risk for poor health due, in part, to limited
access to health-related services including access to relevant health promotion and education information
and programming. Research indicates that inadequate knowledge, poor attitudes, and low self-efficacy
among health professionals limits their ability to effectively work with this population. Purpose: This study
assessed knowledge and attitudes about disabilities and identified factors that impact self-efficacy toward
PWD among college students enrolled in health promotion and education courses at a large Midwestern
university. Methods: Data from a prior unpublished pilot survey study was utilized. The pilot assessed
disability-related knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, self-efficacy, and intentions among 146 college students
enrolled in health education courses. Results: Multivariate analyses revealed that self-efficacy was influ-
enced by attitudes but not by knowledge, sex, education level, major, or experience with disability. More
specifically, students who had more positive attitudes toward PWD reported feeling significantly more
confident in performing disability-related activities than students who had negative attitudes toward
PWD. Discussion: Study findings and the recommendations provided should be considered when creating
curricula and professional development opportunities to improve disability awareness and competence
among health educators.
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