Implicit bias toward people with disability: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Abstract

Purpose: People with disabilities (PWD) experience barriers to accessibility and employment, harming their quality of life. Strategies aimed at reducing disparity for PWD have not changed key statistics such as unemployment rates. Previous research has focused on explicit attitudes, generally found to be positive, prompting investigation into factors such as implicit bias. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated implicit bias toward PWD and associated factors. Method: Forty-six peer-reviewed studies published between January 2000 and April 2020 utilizing the Implicit Association Test were included. Of these, 12 studies met the inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. Results: A significant moderate pooled effect (mean difference = 0.503, 95%CI [0.497–0.509], p,.001)was found, suggesting moderate negative implicit attitudes toward general disability. Negative implicit attitudes were also found toward physical, and intellectual disability. PWD were implicitly stereotyped as incompetent, cold, and “child-like.” Findings were inconsistent for factors associated with bias including age, race, sex, and individual differences. Contact with PWD may be associated with implicit bias; however, measures were inconsistent. Conclusion: This review has found moderate negative implicit biases toward PWD, however, factors associated with this bias remain unclear. Further research should investigate implicit bias toward specific disability groups and strategies to shift such biases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-134
Number of pages14
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2023

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