Culture, causal attributions to visual impairments, and stigma: A mediation model.
BACKGROUND: Causal attributions are central to the understanding of public reactions to disability (that is, disability-related stigma). Research shows that culture and ethnicity were found to play a significant role in both causal attributions of disability and disability-related stigma. Disability-related stigma was found to influence physical and mental health. Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, the relationships linking culture, causal attributions of disability and disability-related stigma, have not been previously examined.
OBJECTIVE: The study examined whether causal attributions (natural, mystic, punitive and emotional) to a specific disability-visual impairments - mediate the relationship between culture and stigma towards individuals with visual impairments.
METHODS: A quota sample comprised of 305 university and college students was drawn. Data were collected via a self-reported questionnaire.
RESULTS: The main findings indicated that emotional and punitive causal attribution to visual impairments mediated the relationship between culture and visual impairments-stigma; Israeli Arab-Palestinians had a higher tendency to attribute higher levels of punitive and emotional causes to visual impairments compared to Israeli Jews. Higher levels of punitive and emotional attributed causes for visual impairments were correlated with higher levels of visual impairments-stigma. Israeli Arab-Palestinians have a higher tendency to attribute visual impairments to mystic causes compared to Israeli Jews. However, this type of perceived causation was unrelated to visual impairments-stigma.
CONCLUSIONS: Interventions to reduce visual impairments-stigma should focus on misconceptions concerning causation. It is especially important to design culturally sensitive interventions for visual impairments stigma reduction among Israeli Arab-Palestinians, which will focus on de-psychologizing visual impairments.