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Impressions about people with intellectual disability of polish high school students who participated in a workshop led by self-advocates

Iwona Nowakowska (Institute of Psychology, The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland)
Ewa Pisula (Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 10 August 2021

Issue publication date: 8 September 2021




The aim of the paper is to assess whether participation in a two-session workshop led by self-advocates with mild intellectual disability (ID), supported by professional staff, affects high school students’ impression of people with ID, measured by a self-report questionnaire based on a semantic differential.


The study was paper-pencil questionnaire-based and anonymous, conducted in Warsaw, Poland. Three measurements were performed using two semantic differentials – two weeks before the workshop, one day and three months afterward. In total, 50 high school students in the workshop group and 43 students in the control group took part in the study.


After the workshop, people with ID were perceived as more calm, compliant and adult and this change was not observed in the control group.

Research limitations/implications

The picture of people with ID after the workshop may probably have been even more complex than before. However, the study focuses on a specific intervention and does not include data about other, similar meetings led in another school and by other self-advocates.

Practical implications

It is worthy to design anti-discriminatory workshops led by the self-advocates to impact the perceptions of people with ID. The particular intervention would benefit from alterations.

Social implications

Workshops performed by self-advocates with ID may be promising in terms of limiting stereotype formation in target groups of workshops.


This research fills the gap in the longitudinal studies on the changes in the impressions about people with ID following an intervention based on personal contact.



European Commission.Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion >.European Social Fund.POWR.04.01.00–00-IH05/16.


Nowakowska, I. and Pisula, E. (2021), "Impressions about people with intellectual disability of polish high school students who participated in a workshop led by self-advocates", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 141-152.



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