Faculty Epistemological Beliefs as a Mediator to Attitudes Toward Persons with Disabilities

Lucy Barnard
Tara Stevens
Kamau O. Siwatu
William Y. Lan


Previous research has indicated that university faculty members’ attitudes towards students with disabilities varies depending on specific background qualities of those faculty, including gender, type of field (soft or hard science), and type of study (pure or applied). We examined epistemological beliefs as a possible mediator between faculty background qualities and attitudes towards individuals with disabilities. 223 faculty members at a large, public research intensive university in the Southwestern, United States, were surveyed to evaluate their attitudes and epistemological beliefs as well as to collect background information. Structural equation modeling was utilized to compare two competing models, one with background directly impacting attitudes and a second with epistemological beliefs acting as a mediator of this relationship. The mediating model provided a significant improvement over the fit of the first model, which supported the mediating role of epistemological beliefs in predicting faculty members’ attitudes towards students with disabilities.


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