Purpose. The primary objective of this research is to examine factors influencing rehabilitation services students' attitudes toward people with disabilities in two social contexts using a conjoint analysis design. Method. Ninety-nine students in rehabilitation counselling participated in a conjoint measurement study featuring 55 stimulus cards representing varying disability types, genders, races or ethnicities, grade point averages, internship evaluations, and employment statuses for both high-stakes scenarios and low-stakes scenarios. The participants were instructed to order the stimulus cards to indicate their preferences for associating with different people with disabilities in two social contexts: A high-stakes context as a rehabilitation administrator hiring a counsellor and a low-stakes context as a mentor/companion. Results. The results showed that age and disability type were most involved in the decision-making process in the low-stakes group, and performance-related variables were most important in the high-stakes context. Attitude was significantly affected by client characteristics unrelated to disability including age and race or ethnicity, and factors influencing attitude formation differed across the two social contexts. Conclusion. Conjoint analysis can contribute to our understanding of the formation of attitudes or preferences in multiple social contexts. Using these results, it may be possible to develop effective attitude change strategies.
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