The Interaction with Disabled Persons Scale: A Validation with UK Midwives

Article excerpt

The Interaction with Disabled Persons Scale (TDP) was designed to measure attitudes towards people with disabilities (Gething, 1991). Using exploratory factor analysis with the 20 items scale, Gething (1994) concluded that the scale has six stable and relatively related factors. In the present study, the IDP was used with a sample of 244 trained midwives to examine the psychometric properties of the IDP, particularly to test Gething's (1994) six-factor and MacLean and Ganon's (1995) two-factor models. As found by Loo (2001), the current study supports neither the six-factor nor the two-factor models of previous studies.

Keywords: midwives, attitudes, disabilities, IDP, factor analysis.

Measuring public and professional attitudes to persons with disabilities has received much attention over the last four decades, firstly to examine factors associated with such attitudes, and secondly to evaluate changes in attitudes following educational interventions. The measures are generally based on the argument that attitudes have three components: affect, beliefs, and behavior (e.g., Fishbein, 1967) and therefore, one's attitudes are made up of positive and negative reactions toward an object associated with specific beliefs that tend to impel the individual to behave in a certain way (Yuker, 1988). Available scales focus either on the societal level and measure attitudes in terms of perceived differences between people with and without disability, or the personal level and the respondents' reactions to people with disabilities. Leonard and Crawford (1989) succinctly illustrated the difference in relation to behavior: people with an intellectual disability have the right to live in the community (societal level) but not next door to me (personal level).

The most widely used and validated scale on the societal level is the Attitude Toward Disabled Persons (ATDP) (Yuker, Block, & Campbell, 1960; Yuker, Block, & Young, 1970). Others include the Scale of Attitudes towards Disabled Persons (Antonak, 1980), and the Mental Retardation Misconceptions Scale (Antonak, 1982; Antonak & Livneh, 1988). However, all three scales, have been reported as having poor internal consistency and a lack of stability over time (Beckwith & Matthews, 1994).

The most widely used and validated scale on the personal level is the Interaction with Disabled People Scale (IDP; Gething, 1991; Gething & Wheeler, 1992). According to Gething (1994) the scale measures discomfort during interactions with people with disabilities. She proposed that the discomfort is associated with feeling uninformed and uncertain of how to behave and what to expect when engaging with people with disabilities, and reflects a "succumbing framework which emphasizes tragedy and limitations associated with disability, reactions associated with not having a disability, and feelings of vulnerability about the possibility of becoming disabled oneself' (p. 25).

The scale was developed in 1980 and a series of reliability and validity studies were completed. Between 1988 and 1990, 6000 data cases from a cross section of the Australian population were combined for the standardization project (Gething, 1994). Internal consistency was assessed on IS occasions with Cronbach's alpha coefficients ranging from 0.74 to 0.86. Gething (1991) reported that the use of a series of exploratory factor analyses using principle components analyses and varimax rotations resulted in five- and six- factor models with eigenvalues of at least 1.00. The first three factors explained most of the variance and the fifth and sixth were left unlabelled. In 1994 she reported the analysis on 12 data sets and concluded that the scale had six stable and related factors and the items fell consistently into categories, with the exception of items 8 and 19. In order to examine potential changes in attitudes over the decade, she also applied a maximum-likelihood solution with oblique rotation based on eigenvalues of unrotated factors of 1. …