Barbadian children's understanding of mental retardation

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Barbadian children's understanding of the nature and causes of mental retardation, and of the characteristics of mentally retarded children, was investigated using a questionnaire previously employed in the United States by Siperstein and Bak (1980). Subjects were 199 10- to 11-year-olds from four primary schools in Barbados. Results indicated that many Barbadian children, like their American counterparts, confused retardation with orthopedic disabilities and, to a lesser extent, mental illness. A higher proportion of Barbadian children than of American children thought mental retardation was caused by post-natal factors such as childhood accidents, illnesses, parental maltreatment, and drug taking. Equal proportions of boys and girls mentioned causes associated with the pregnant mother, although girls identified a greater variety of such factors. Students generally demonstrated a fairly high degree of empathy with the needs and feelings of mentally retarded peers, and recent public awareness campaigns appear to have had a definite impact upon results


DOI: 10.1016/S0270-3092(85)80070-9

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