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Attitudes towards disabled more negative in past five years - report

The National Disability Authority has surveyed people’s attitudes to disability in 2011.

Image: Marcel Oosterwijk via Flickr

PEOPLE IN IRELAND’s attitudes towards those with a disability have become more negative in the last five years, according to new research out today.

The National Disability Authority has said that attitudes have changed since they carried out a similar survey in 2006 which aims to provide evidence on the attitudes to disability among men and women in Ireland. Over 1,000 people were interviewed.

Physical disability was the the most frequently identified with 81 per cent of people identifying it when not prompted. Unprompted awareness of mental health difficulties has risen since 2006 from 43 per cent to over 50 per cent.

But despite this, the survey found that people are “relatively less comfortable having a work colleague with mental health difficulties compared with other disabilities”. The same was true for people with disabilities living in respondents’ neighbourhoods.

Other findings included fewer people (24 per cent) agreeing that an adult with an intellectual disability or autism should have children if they wished than in 2006 (64 per cent).

Other main findings were:

  • That 24 per cent of people would object if a child with mental health difficulties was in the same class as their child.
  • The proportion of respondents who are aware of someone with a disability has fallen from 71 per cent in 2006 to 64 per cent in 2011.
  • The majority (57 per cent) of respondents believe that ‘It is society which disables people by creating barriers’ – a decline from 62 per cent in 2006.
  • More than 40 per cent of people believe that ‘people with disabilities are treated fairly in Irish Society’ – an increase on the 2006 figure of 39 per cent.
  • Three out of ten or 30 per cent of people believe that the state provides adequate or enough benefits for people with a disability. In 2006 the figure was 24 per cent.
  • The number of people participating in the survey who have a disability was 14 per cent, up from 11 per cent in 2006 .

Read the National Disability Authority’s research here >

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Hugh O'Connell

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