Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Rosalie G. Rhoads, PhD, Director; DeForest L. Strunk, EdD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD; Prof. John S. Chambers, Jr.


attitudes, education, Malaysia, program development, school administrators, teachers, teacher training


The primary purposes of this study were to investigate the attitudes of teachers and principals based on demographic and experiential variables and to make recommendations for teacher training and program development based on the results of the study. Subjects were (N = 450) elementary schoolteachers and (N = 30) principals from the state of Selangor in Malaysia. The Attitude Toward Handicapped Individuals Scale (ATHI) and a personal data questionnaire including two open-ended questions related to the treatment of the handicapped and categorical preferences for exceptionalities were used in this survey research. Ninety-two percent of the questionnaires were returned with 87% being scorable. The independent sample t test and one-way analysis of variance were used to investigate the effect of sex, age, race, academic qualification, teaching experience, contact with handicapped persons, and attendance in presentations related to special education, and attitudinal differences between teachers and principals. Chi-square was used to investigate hypotheses regarding differences in responses to individual items on the ATHI Scale. The preferences for various categories of exceptionalities and choice of specific settings for delivery of instruction were also investigated. Results indicated that educators with Bachelor degrees possessed the highest level of acceptance of handicapped persons. Respondents from the Indian ethnic group were found to exhibit more favorable attitudes than respondents from Chinese and Malay ethnic groups. Subjects who had attended presentations related to special education indicated higher acceptance of handicapped persons than subjects without such experiences. Overall the subjects were found to possess stereotypic negative attitudes toward the disabled. A hierarchy of categorical preference was found to exist among educators. The study also indicated that educators favored segregated schools and communities for handicapped individuals. Item analysis of the ATHI indicated that the educational background and race of the subjects had significant influence on the subjects' perceptions of handicapped persons' socialization capability, mental and emotional potential, and self-concept. Implications of this study suggested preservice, inservice, and program development for handicapped individuals in Malaysia. Based on the study, guidelines were suggested for preservice, inservice, and program development. Recommendations for further attitudinal studies were made based on the results and limitations of the present study.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access