“But what do you really think?” Nurses' contrasting explicit and implicit attitudes towards people with disabilities using the implicit association test

Daniel W. Derbyshire, Tamsin Keay

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Abstract

Aims: To investigate how nurses' implicit and explicit attitudes towards people with disabilities (PWD) compare to (1) other healthcare providers and (2) non‐healthcare providers.
Method: We present an analysis of secondary data from the publicly available disability Implicit Association Test (IAT). We compare the explicit and implicit attitudes towards PWD for (1) nurses (n = 24,545), (2) other healthcare providers (n = 57,818) and (3) non‐healthcare providers (n = 547,966) for a total of 630,238 respondents, between 2006 and 2021.
Data Sources: We use publicly available data for the Disability IAT from Open Science Framework repository of Project Implicit available at https://osf.io/tx5fi/.
Reporting: STROBE checklist.
Results: There is a distinct contrast between nurses' explicit and implicit attitudes. While nurses have more positive explicit attitudes towards PWD compared to other groups, they also have more negative implicit attitudes towards PWD. As such there is a contrast between nurses' stated (explicit) attitudes and their unconscious (implicit) attitudes towards PWD. Further, we find that implicit bias towards PWD—among all groups—has not improved over the 15 year period of our sample.
Conclusions: We present a contrast between nurses' explicit and implicit attitude towards PWD compared to non‐healthcare providers. We posit that implicit bias is driven by a combination of workload and stress which drives nurses to unconscious modes of thinking more frequently.
Implications: We discuss three potential tools for improved educational praxis regarding treatment of PWD; (1) more PWD service user involvement, (2) the use of mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and (3) the use of patient contact simulation to promote education and understanding.
Patient or Public Contribution: There is no patient or public contribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume(In-Press)
Early online date7 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keywords

  • disability
  • discrimination
  • medical education
  • nurses
  • unconscious bias

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