Preschoolers' evaluations of physical disabilities: A consideration of attitudes and behavior


Assessed preschoolers' attitudes about orthopedically handicapped individuals with a standard picture-ranking task. Children generally exhibited a functionally related preference for nonhandicapped individuals. One month later, the same children were videotaped reading and playing basketball with a female adult in a wheelchair or in a chair. Preferences for a normal play partner during reading or during sports on the picture-ranking task did not relate to frequency of social interactions. Liking preference for a normal play partner, in conjunction with gender of the child, predicted frequency of social interactions during both tasks regardless of examiner's handicap status. Thus, the adoption of a negative bias had a general influence; any potential behavioral biases, as reflective of preference biases, were undifferentiated and unfocused in these preschoolers. © 1994 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

Publication Title

Journal of Pediatric Psychology