Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)



First Advisor

Robert H. Woody, Ph.D.


Examining differences in attitudes is important in developing appropriate interventions to promote successful inclusion of children with disabilities into regular education classrooms. This study evaluated the effects of inclusion and contact on children's attitudes toward hypothetical peers with disabilities. One hundred children in the fourth and sixth grades were recruited from three inclusive schools in Nebraska and were administered the Peers Attitudes Toward the Handicapped scale. The classroom teachers reported on the amount of time that the child(ren) with disabilities spent daily in the regular education classroom, which was broken down into the amount of time spent in social and academic activities. The results of this study revealed that: fourth graders had more positive attitudes toward peers with disabilities, in general, and peers with physical disabilities than did sixth graders; and children with more total and academic contact with peers with disabilities have less positive attitudes toward peers with physical and learning disabilities when grade was controlled than did children with less total and academic contact with peers with disabilities (meaning that as contact increases, positive attitudes decrease). School psychologists can play an important role as change agents in a school system to promote positive attitudes toward children with disabilities.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2003 Melissa E. Hall