Knowledge and attitudes towards disability in Moldova: A qualitative study of young people's views

Kenneth A McLean, Samantha Hardie, Abigail Paul, Gary Paul, Iain Savage, Paul Shields, Rebecca Symes, Joanna Wilson, Catherine Winstanley, Jeni Harden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: People with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova continue to experience considerable discrimination and social exclusion. The Moldovan government recently affirmed their commitment to promote community integration. However, there remains limited evidence to facilitate understanding of these issues, and barriers to the integrative process.

OBJECTIVE: This study explored the knowledge and attitudes towards disability of young people within Moldova.

METHODS: A qualitative approach was adopted and 3 semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with schoolchildren (n = 12), aged 13-15 years. These interviews focussed on different aspects of disability, and community integration. Pictorial and written vignettes were used to stimulate discussion. The interviews were conducted and recorded in Romanian, and were subsequently translated into English to facilitate thematic data analysis.

RESULTS: Identified themes included: (1) Knowledge and understanding of disability. The young people's knowledge was limited and framed by the medical model of disability; (2) Attitudes towards community integration. A bias against long-term care institutions, but differing views regarding integration; (3) Perceptions of barriers to community integration: (i) Cultural barriers. Negative, even hostile attitudes towards disability; (ii) Policy barriers. Poor support services; and (iii) Physical barriers. Ongoing issues regarding accessibility.

CONCLUSIONS: People with disabilities in Moldova experience negative cultural attitudes linked to an outdated conception of disability itself. There are inadequate community support services and infrastructure which act as barriers to inclusion. At present, there can be limited interaction and participation of people with disabilities within local communities, and so few opportunities to refute persistent stereotypes and stigma surrounding disability.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and health journal
Early online date25 Jan 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Journal Article


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