College students' perceptions of sexual ability in people with physical disabilities



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This study investigated relationships between implicit bias based on physical ability and beliefs about disabled people's sexuality. Social perceptions that people with disabilities might have a different sexual function or desire warrant further investigation due to the importance of sexuality to people living with disabilities (Addlakha et al., 2017). The current study used a two-group between-subjects experimental design to test whether exposure to disability-positive information can influence subsequent implicit or explicit attitudes toward people with disabilities. In the experimental condition, participants read a news article describing successful intimate and romantic relationships involving people with disabilities; in the control condition, participants read an article unrelated to disabilities. Participants then responded to the ability-disability Implicit Association Test (IAT) as well as explicit measures of prejudice. Results indicated that the experimental condition did not affect implicit or explicit biases. Participants' explicit biases were positively associated with their IAT scores; thus, participants with greater implicit bias also expressed greater explicit bias. Findings indicated that implicit and explicit biases are related to one another and that future research should utilize stronger manipulations of exposure to disability-positive information to alter attitudes.



Physical Disabilities, Psychology, Implicit Bias, Explicit Bias, Social Desirability, Sexual Esteem, Sexuality