Survey of Community Attitudes towards People with a Disability

Project Details

In 2018, we partnered with the Victorian Government to conduct a survey on community attitudes towards disability. It was developed to inform the Victorian government’s work in relation to ‘Changing Attitudes’, a priority of the Absolutely Everyone: Victorian State Disability Plan (2017-2020).

The survey focused on attitudes that impact the social and economic participation of people with disability of all ages. It was the first population-level survey about attitudes and disability in Victoria.

This survey was developed with researchers who have lived experience of disability and through stakeholder interviews. In Phase 1, the research team reviewed existing measures and previous surveys on public attitudes and intersecting domains (including racism and mental health stigma).  A survey was refined through consultation with stakeholders in disability advocacy. In Phase 2, the survey was administered to approximately 1000 Victorians and over 3000 Australians from the general population.

This is the first time this survey has been conducted in Australia. A full report on the findings is available for download below.

.     Executive Summary of Attitudes Matter Report

Our follow up report is  Attitudes Matter: Findings from a National Survey of Community Attitudes to Disability in Australia provides a comprehensive view of individual beliefs and community perceptions that influence how people behave towards people with disability. Over 2000 Australians participated in the survey, the first national survey of its kind, about their personal beliefs and perceptions of public attitudes towards disability in Australia.

The results are thematically structured around common beliefs, attitudes about personal lives and choices, behaviours towards people with disability and inclusion of people with disability.

Both reports can be downloaded below and Easy read versions are also available

National Survey Victorian Survey


Professor Anne Kavanagh, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Allison Milner (1983 - 2019), University of Melbourne
Ms Lauren Krnjacki, University of Melbourne
Ms Anne-Marie Bollier, University of Melbourne
Ms Vasiliky Kasidis, University of Melbourne
Ms Georgia Katsikis, University of Melbourne
Ms Jasmine Ozge, University of Melbourne


The Social Research Centre, Australian National University

Research Outcomes

Download presentation (pdf) or preview here, from the National Workshop on Community Attitudes, 28 June 2019, Melbourne, Office of Disability, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Below is a summary of the key findings from the survey:


Research Publications

Changing Attitudes: Survey of community attitudes around disability. Melbourne: University of Melbourne and Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, August 2018.

Bollier AM, Sutherland G, Krnjacki L, Kasidis V, Katsikis G, Ozge J.  Attitudes Matter: Findings from a national survey of community attitudes toward people with disability in Australia. University of Melbourne. August 2021.

Research Group

School Research Themes

Disparities, disadvantage and effective health care, Data science, health metrics and disease modeling

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.