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Title: Imagined contact as a means of improving attitudes towards people with learning disabilities and reducing intergroup anxieties
Author: Price, Alessia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 5306
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2016
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available