Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Attitudes of Children Without Disabilities Toward Peers with Disabilities: The Effect of Contact in a Summer Camp Program 
Finch, J.G.
Doctoral Dissertation, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1998.

Purpose:
Examine the changes in attitudes of children without disabilities toward their peers with disabilities in an inclusive summer day camp setting.

Sample:
Subjects: 611 campers (boys and girls), ages 8-12.
Camp Affiliation: Jewish Community Center Day Camps using Open Hearts, Open Doors Programs.

Method/Instruments:
Method: Eight-week summer day camp program, six hours/day, five days/week. Program included specific inclusion interventions such as: circle of friends (peer support group for campers with disabilities), information meetings for campers without disabilities, Kids on the Block performance, inclusive fine arts performances, non-disabled-disabled buddy system for transportation around camp and in daily activities, and modifications to all sports activities to accommodate campers with disabilities. Disabilities included: autism, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, severe cerebral palsy, emotional disturbances, ADD, auditory impairment, neurological impairment, and perceptual impairment.

Instrument: Three-point attitude survey, a revision of The Acceptance Scale (22 positive and negative statements about children with disabilities).

Design: 411 campers in the inclusive camp setting, 200 in the control group at a comparable, non-inclusive day camp. Comparable number of males and females in treatment group, twice as many females as males in the control group. Pre-test/post-test design with control group (Group x Gender x Grade x Time of Test).

Data Analysis: ANOVA

Results:

  • Significant differences between groups on pre-test, so no other between group comparisons were performed.
  • Significant overall positive attitude change in children without disabilities toward children with disabilities in the inclusive group. No change for non-inclusive group.
  • No significant attitude change between groups by gender.
  • Significant grade level differences between groups: significant positive change in attitude for grades 5 & 6 in inclusive camp setting and negative changes in attitude in grades 5 & 6 for campers in non-inclusive setting.
  • No significant overall attitude changes related to gender, but there were significant differences based on gender on individual questions.
  • There were higher mean scores for females than for males in both groups.
  • The researcher attributed success to the intensive staff training and commitment to the goals of the program, enabling staff to reach a comfort level conducive to success.
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