Survey of Community Attitudes towards People with a Disability


  • Director Professor Anne Kavanagh

Project Details

We are conducting a survey of Australians to identify attitudes towards people with disability including stereotypes, social distance, stigma and discrimination.  As part of this we are collecting data from people with disability about their experiences of discrimination. We are working in partnership with the Victorian government to establish a baseline description of attitudes about people with disability.

This quantitative survey is focused on attitudes that impact the social and economic participation of people with disability of all ages. It will provide the first population-level data about attitudes toward people with disability in Victoria, and will also yield nationally generalisable results.

The survey will inform the Victorian government's work in relation to 'Changing Attitudes', a key priority of the Absolutely Everyone: Victorian State Disability Plan (2017-2020). It will also establish a range of questions and instruments for use in subsequent surveys to measure attitudinal changes over time.

This survey has been developed with researchers who have lived experience of disability and through stakeholder interviews. In Phase 1, the research team reviewed existing measures and prior surveys on community attitudes about disability and intersecting domains (including racism and mental health stigma).  A survey draft is currently being refined through consultation with stakeholders in disability advocacy. In Phase 2, the survey will be administered to approximately 1000 Victorians and over 3000 Australians from the general adult population. Results will be released towards the end of 2018.

This is the first time this survey has been conducted in Australia.


Professor Anne Kavanagh, University of Melbourne
Dr Allison Milner, 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)


Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

The program of work on Disability and Disadvantage is funded through grants and research contracts provided by a variety of sources, including the Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council, Victorian State Government Health department and internal University funding.

Research Outcomes

Disability, social mobility and the well-being of people with disabilities

Discrimination and bullying against people with disabilities

Improving Disability Employment Outcomes (IDES)

Vision Impairment and Employment

Research Group

Disability and Health Unit

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

Unit / Centre

Disability and Health Unit

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