|dc.description.abstract||The purpose of this study was to investigate the stigma of mental
and physical handicap and its affects on the provision of dental
Three groups of mentally and physically handicapped children, 4
year olds (n = 309), 14 year olds (n = 174) and 25 to 35 year olds
(n = 265), were randomly selected from institutions in Hong Kong.
The sample was dentally examined and dental status and
treatment need assessed Their parents were also interviewed.
Two psychometric scales, the Scale to Determine Attitudes
Toward Disabled Persons (SADP), and the Parental Attitude
Scale, a scale derived for this study, were used to assess attitude
towards disabled persons in general, and specifically towards
their own child. A questionnaire was also developed investigating
parental experiences and feelings towards their handicapped
child. Socioeconomic data was also collected and Information on
the dental care delivery pattern experienced by their child.
Dental practitioner members of the Hong Kong Dental
Association were circulated with the SADP, the Dental
Practitioner Attitude Scale, a scale derived for this study, and a
questionnaire relating to qualifications and practice. A 62.5%
response rate was achieved
Canes experience was comparable to the non handicapped in the
4 year old group, lower in the other age groups, but with a high D
component m the 25 to 35 year olds. Dental utilisation was low,
the main reasons being financial, transport problems and a belief
that the dentist would not treat.
There was a gradation of parental attitude towards handicapped
persons corresponding to education, age and socioeconomic
factors. Dentists were not enthusiastic about treating handicapped
patients for mainly financial reasons. Both parents and dentists
felt strongly that government should provide facilities and be
responsible for the treatment of handicapped individuals.
The hypothesis of the study was mainly fulfilled. The stigma of
handicap is a barrier to dental care, but is more socioeconomic
than the way that handicapped persons present themselves.||en_US