Pre-service healthcare professionals attitudes and self-efficacy towards individuals with intellectual disability in Ghana

Maxwell Peprah Opoku, Hala Elhoweris, Michael Amponteng, William Nketsia, Eric Lawer Torgbenu, Reuben Saah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Intellectual disability (ID) involves impairment of general mental abilities, restricting the participation of individuals in conceptual, social and practical activities. Consequently, rehabilitation services are critical in efforts towards promoting the social and educational inclusion of persons with ID. However, the preparedness of health professionals in performing such a role depends on their perceptions of individuals with ID. Ajzen’s theory of planned behaviour was used as theoretical framework to understand the relationship between the perceived attitude and self-efficacy of healthcare students towards persons with ID. Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among healthcare students (N = 328) in a Ghanaian university. The Community Living Attitude Scale for ID(CLAS-ID) and General Self-efficacy (GSE) Scale were employed to assess their attitudes and self-efficacy towards people with ID respectively. The data were analysed using SPSS and AMOS and were subjected to a t-test, ANOVA, correlation and regression. Result: The healthcare students were ambivalent about both self-efficacy and attitudes towards persons with ID, and there was correlation between attitudes and self-efficacy. Attitudes and self-efficacy also varied across the demographic characteristics of the respondents including age, having a relative with ID, level of study, religion, and programme of study. Conclusion: The study underscores the necessity for healthcare curriculum reform and provides corresponding recommendations. The study emphasizes the importance of enhancing healthcare students' understanding of ID, changing their attitudes, and bolstering their self-efficacy. This is crucial to foster positive attitudes, confidence in providing support to individuals with ID, and raising awareness within the broader community. To achieve this, health educators are encouraged to incorporate exposure to individuals with ID into healthcare students' training, along with more structured field experiences designed to increase their contact and interaction with individuals with ID. Such initiatives would enable students to better understand the uniqueness and requirements of individuals with ID.

Original languageEnglish
Article number714
JournalBMC medical education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Discrimination
  • Ghana
  • Healthcare students
  • Intellectual disability
  • Subjugation
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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