Effect of Three Informational Strategies on Coworker Attitudes towards Hiring People with Autism

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Misconceptions and stereotypes about disabilities are often the largest obstacle to the hiring of people with disabilities. Vocational rehabilitation professionals have argued that employers should be given information about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities to counteract inaccurate knowledge about disabilities. This experiment was designed to examine the efficacy of informational passages with respect to influencing behavioral intentions toward hiring people with autism spectrum disorder. The proposed study is grounded not only in an understanding of autism and current vocational rehabilitation practice, but also in the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1985, 1991) which has been used to help researchers and applied professionals better understand employers' intentions to hire people with disabilities (Fraser, Johnson, Hebert, Ajzen, Copeland, Brown, & Chan, 2011). We found a significant gender effect such that women tended to be more positive than men towards hiring initiatives for people with ASD. Providing information about business benefits significantly improved men's reactions to hiring initiatives but had mixed effects on female participants' reactions. Overall, results supported the use of the TPB as a method of understanding the behavioral intentions of supporting hiring initiatives for people with ASD.



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