Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  McDonnall, M. C., Cmar, J. L., Antonelli, K., & Markoski, K. (2019). Professionals’ Implicit Attitudes about the Competence of People Who are Blind. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 113 (4), 341-354.
Title:  Professionals’ Implicit Attitudes about the Competence of People Who are Blind
Authors:  McDonnall, M. C., Cmar, J. L., Antonelli, K., & Markoski, K.
Year:  2019
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness
Publisher:  SAGE
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  When it comes to the employment of any individual, competence is usually a high priority on the list of skills needed for any position. But what how is competence determined? Do a person’s abilities determine whether they are considered competent? And if so, how does that affect persons with disabilities? How do employers view the competency of individuals with disabilities, specifically those with blindness or visual impairments? This study sought to answer that question and gain insight on the perceptions and attitudes on hiring individuals with blindness or visual impairments.
Data collection and analysis:  Researchers conducted an online survey of 450 employers and 322 professionals who are blind to measure the specific attitudes about the competence of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
Findings:  Employers showed a strong connection between competence and whether a person was considered competent. They tended to consider sight with competence and blind with incompetence.
Conclusions:  Employers attitudes about the competence of blind individuals may have a lot to do with their limited knowledge of blind people and also the lack of interaction with blind individuals. Blind professionals may have an increased self-evaluation of their competence with role models who are successful blind professionals. And employers could benefit from more education on how blind individuals perform various tasks and the types of accommodations available to these individuals.

Disabilities served:  Blindness
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Race: American Indian or Alaska Native
Race: Asian
Race: Black / African American
Race: White / Caucasian
Race: Native Hawaiian / other Pacific Islander
Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino
Ethnicity: Not Hispanic or Latino
Rural and remote communities
Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Older workers (55+)
Adjudicated adults and youth
Culturally diverse populations (e.g., African Americans, Native Americans, and non-English speaking populations)
Persons with multiple disabilities (e.g., deaf-blindness, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse)
SSI and SSDI recipients
Sub-minimum wage employees
Transition-age students (14 - 22)
Interventions:  Accommodations
Assistive technology
Training and technical assistance
Vocational rehabilitation
Accommodations / modifications
Systematic instruction
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Full-time employment