Direct Support Professionals and Reversed Integration of People With Intellectual Disabilities: Impact of Attitudes, Perceived Social Norms, and Meta-Evaluations

Venema, E., Otten, S. & Vlaskamp, C., Mar-2016, In : Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities. 13, 1, p. 41-49 9 p.

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  • Direct Support Professionals and Reversed Integration of People

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Direct support professionals (DSPs) play an important role in the process of integration of people with intellectual disabilities. Nevertheless, little is currently known about what determines the level of effort exerted by DSPs to enable the social integration of their clients. The aim of this study was to investigate three different psychological determinants (attitudes, social norms, and meta-evaluations) of the behavioral intentions of DSPs to facilitate the social integration of their clients. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 28 DSPs working in a setting of reversed integration, as well as 25 family members and 25 neighbors. The DSPs' perceived social norms and meta-evaluations of neighbors and family members were compared with their actual social norms and evaluations. The authors found that half of the DSPs interviewed were positive about integration, whereas the other half were negative or neutral. Concerning social norms, the DSPs expect neighbors to have neutral attitudes toward the integration of people with intellectual disabilities, while in reality the neighbors are very positive. More than half of the DSPs were uncertain about the family members' opinions about integration. Asking the family members themselves, there was some variation in their attitudes toward integration. Regarding the meta-evaluation, DSPs had a realistic idea about how their work would be evaluated by family members and neighbors; both groups were positive. It is evident that this group of DSPs had an overly negative idea of neighbors' opinions about integration and contact with people with intellectual disabilities. Creating awareness of a supportive social norm in the neighborhood could help and encourage DSPs to strive for social contact between their clients and neighbors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2016


  • attitudes, direct support professional, intellectual disability, integration, meta-evaluations, social norms, DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION, COMMUNITY, NEIGHBORS, INDIVIDUALS

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