Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Attitude, CATCH, Disability, Intervention, Students, Tripartite


Cam D. Cobb




In this study, a new intervention aimed at enhancing junior elementary level students’ attitudes toward disability is presented. This intervention is theoretically grounded in the tripartite theory of attitude. Scholars who subscribe to this theory define attitude as equal parts cognitive, affective, and behavioural. The newly-developed 12-lesson intervention consists of two, six-lesson units related to disability. Each unit contains two lessons that explicitly target each of the three dimensions of attitude. In addition, lesson components are based upon what has been successful in previous intervention studies with a few new elements that have not been studied. Two Grade 4 classes, consisting of 8- and 9-year-olds, from a large rural school in Southwestern Ontario made up the sample for this embedded mixed-methods study. The quantitative component was a quasi-experimental design with pre-test/post-test measures and control/experimental groups. 2 x 2 mixed ANOVAs, as well as t-tests, were calculated to measure the effectiveness of the intervention by comparing the control and experimental groups, as well as pre- and post-test measures of students’ attitudes toward disability. There was a significant main effect for time, but non-significant findings for the interaction effect when global attitude scores were examined. The cognitive dimension had a significant main and interaction effect, indicating that the tripartite intervention had an impact on how students thought about disability. Determinant factors were also examined. Having a family member was associated with more positive attitudes toward disability, whereas self-reported gender and friendship with someone who has a disability were not. The qualitative component of this study included a content analysis of intervention lesson materials (i.e., students’ worksheets). Definitions and drawings were examined in Worksheet One. Students mostly drew physical disabilities and defined disability from a deficit perspective. Students’ self-reported emotional reactions to behaviour-based lessons were also examined in Worksheets Two and Three. The majority of the students reported positive emotions (e.g., joy) when playing cooperative games with students from a self-contained special education class. In addition, students reported a mix of emotions while playing roller sledge hockey.