Sixth graders’ attitudes toward normal and handicapped peers presented in photographs and on videotape were measured three times: Prior to, during, and after discussion in small groups, without an adult present. These groups were composed according to friendship pattern-friends and non-friends. The results indicated that children’s individual attitudes toward an academically incompetent, abnormal-appearing child became more negative after group discussion. Group discussion did not affect children’s attitudes toward the academically competent, normal-appearing child. The negative shift in attitudes toward the handicapped child occurred for both groups of friends and not-friends. The findings indicated that children’s interactions in groups may be an important factor in determining to what extent handicapped children will be accepted or rejected.
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