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Title: Atitudes and behavioural intentions of typically developing adolescents towards their peers with Asperger syndrome
Author: Fleva, Eleni
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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Children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) are often educated in mainstream school along with their typically developing (TD) peers. Despite physical inclusion, however, these students are not always socially accepted by their TD peers and they are often the targets of negative behavior especially during adolescence. Negative behaviours towards peers with disabilities may result from ignorance about their condition or the lack of contact with them. The broad aim of this thesis is to explore the attitudes and behavioural intentions of TD adolescents towards hypothetical peers with AS and to identify possible mechanisms to improve attitudes. Study 1 compares participant's (N= 179, M age= 13.7) attitudes and behavioural intentions towards a hypothetical TD boy and a hypothetical boy with AS. It further compares the impact of information about AS from two sources, teacher or friend. Participants overall showed more positive attitudes and intentions towards the TD boy than towards the boy with AS, and were more positive following information provided by a peer than a teacher. Providing additional information about AS had no effect on participant's responses overall. Study 2 investigated whether a new method, "imagined contact", positively affected participant's responses towards the target boy with AS and also towards people with AS in general. Participants (N= 416, M age= 15.2) were asked to imagine either interacting with the boy or to imagine his presence in a classroom. The impact of information about AS was re-examined. Participants who imagined an interaction with the boy reported more positive intentions than participants who only imagined his presence. However, there was no effect on attitudes towards people with AS in general. Providing information about AS had a moderate positive effect on intentions. Study 3 assessed whether the effect of imagined contact could be replicated and then sustained after a period of a week.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available