Attitude of physiotherapy students in Nigeria toward persons with disability

Grace O. Vincent-Onabajo, Ph.D., Wasinda S. Malgwi, B.M.R. (PT)

Department of Medical Rehabilitation (Physiotherapy), College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria

Disability and Health Journal, Vol. 8, Issue 1, p102–108
Published online: July 5 2014



Attitudes of students of health care professions, such as physiotherapy, toward persons with disability may influence their attitude and practice post-qualification.


To examine attitudes toward persons with disability among undergraduate physiotherapy students in Universities in Nigeria.


The 30-item Attitudes toward Disabled Persons – Form A (ATDP-A) scale was used to assess the attitudes of penultimate and final year physiotherapy students in 3 Nigerian universities. Overall and item-by-item analyzes of responses to the ATDP-A scale were carried out. Differences in attitude by sex, age, year and university of study were also examined using independent t-test and one-way ANOVA.


One hundred and sixty-nine students with a male majority (56.2%) participated in the study. Mean score on the ATDP-A was 94.95 ± 17.50 with more students (60.4%) having a score >90 which depicts positive attitude. Item-by-item analysis of responses to the 30 items on the ATDP-A showed that negative attitudes were preponderant on items relating to the emotional component of the personality of persons with disability. Only age of students and their university of study however resulted in statistically significant differences in attitudes and older students reported better attitudes toward persons with disability.


Although the overall attitude of the physiotherapy students was positive, negative stereotypes and discriminatory tendencies were observed in issues relating to the perceived emotional capacity of persons with disabilities. Educational strategies capable of effecting more positive attitudes in physiotherapy students in Nigeria toward persons with disability are urgently needed.