An exploration of recreational therapy students’ attitudes toward adults with developmental disabilities


  • Cara M. Prinzo, MS, CTRS
  • Gretchen Snethen, PhD, CTRS



stigma, developmental disabilities, students, education


While more adults with developmental disabilities are living in the community, negative attitudes and stigma remain a barrier to independence and community integration. Both community members and healthcare providers harbor these attitudes, and thus may discriminate against this population. The adverse consequences of stigma particularly within the healthcare system have a negative impact on the health and well-being of adults with developmental disabilities. Because recreational therapists provide services that often promote independence and community integration, it is important to have an understanding of underlying attitudes toward this population. This article reports on the attitudes of recreational therapy undergraduate students toward adults with developmental disabilities and factors that may be associated with these attitudes. Based on correlational analyses, recommendations are made for recreational therapy curriculum to reduce stigmatizing attitudes.

Author Biographies

Cara M. Prinzo, MS, CTRS

Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Recreational Therapist, Mercy LIFE Senior Health Centers, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Gretchen Snethen, PhD, CTRS

Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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How to Cite

Prinzo, MS, CTRS, C. M., & Snethen, PhD, CTRS, G. (2016). An exploration of recreational therapy students’ attitudes toward adults with developmental disabilities. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 15(3), 40–48.