NCPEID FEATURE ARTICLE––The Impact of a One-Time Community Engagement Event on College Students’ Attitudes Toward Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities


  • Jennifer L. VanSickle
  • Heidi Hancher-Rauch
  • Isabell Mills
  • Michael J. Diacin
  • Mindy Hartman Mayol


Negative societal attitudes are a known barrier faced by persons with intellectual disabilities (ID). This project sought to provide college-aged students with exposure to persons with ID via participation in a one-time community engagement event sponsored by Special Olympics Indiana. Prior to and following participation, 107 students completed a 17-item survey to assess attitudes about working with persons with ID. Results demonstrated significant differences in 15 of the 17 item scores (p ? .05) except for two emotion-based variables: willing (p= .129), and cooperative, (p=.116). Those having prior contact with persons with ID showed less anxiety and greater willingness to participate in the event. This work supports the idea that participation in community engagement activities positively impacts attitudes toward persons with ID.  

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