National Survey of Public Attitudes to Disability in Ireland, 2017

Study number (SN): 0048-03


National Disability Authority (NDA). (2018). National Survey of Public Attitudes to Disability in Ireland, 2017. [dataset]. Version 1. Irish Social Science Data Archive. SN: 0048-03.



The National Disability Authority (NDA) commissioned Behaviour & Attitudes (B&A) to conduct a nationally representative survey on public attitudes to disability in Ireland in 2017. The NDA previously conducted national surveys on attitudes to disability in 2001, 2006 and 2011. 

The survey used quota sampling and was conducted using computer assisted personal interviews (CAPI) during January and February 2017. Data were weighted on gender, age, region, socio-economic status and disability status. Data from 2017 were compared to 2011 and 2006 data and these datasets were also weighted to their respective census year. Multivariate analysis was carried out to determine what factors influenced the key findings.

The survey covered a range of topics on attitudes relating to disability. These included awareness of disability and attitudes towards particular types of disability. Survey questions explored attitudes towards children with disabilities in mainstream education, the employment of people with disabilities as well as relationships, neighbourhood, and the social wellbeing of people with and without disabilities. It also compared people with and without disabilities.

A total sample of 1294 respondents aged 18 years and older participated in the survey. The sample was comprised of an initial sample of 1,021 respondents, of whom 166 had a disability, and a booster sample of 273 people with disabilities, giving a total of 439 people with a disability and 855 without.

The 2017 NDA national survey data suggests that positive attitudes towards every kind of disability including mental health difficulties are increasing when compared to the 2011 findings, which have largely returned to, or exceeded the 2006 findings. Despite the apparent improvement in positive attitudes it is essential to continue increasing employment opportunities, promoting inclusive education and reducing stigma associated with mental illness.


  • Attitudes
  • Disabilities
  • Disables Persons
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Families
  • Friends
  • Housing
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Knowledge (Awareness)
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Partnerships (Personal)
  • Social Activities (Leisure)




This sample comprised a nationally representative survey of 1,021 respondents plus a booster survey of 273 people with disabilities. Interviews were conducted at the homes of the respondents. Only one person per household was eligible to participate in the study. Just over 7.3% (n=95) responded to the survey using a proxy. The methodology is similar to that used in the 2011 and 2006 attitudes surveys making data comparable.

Quotas were applied for region, gender, age and social economic group with a tight geographical stratification to ensure that the findings would be representative of Irish adults aged 18+. Interviewing was conducted over 125 sampling points. These locations were selected randomly based on a list of District Electoral Divisions. Houses were randomly selected at each location.

Observation units

  • Individual

Temporal coverage

From 01/2017 to 02/2017

Time dimension

Repeated cross-sectional study

Geographical coverage

Country: Ireland

Administrative unit: Randomly selected 125 DEDs

Methods of data collection

  • CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interviewing) 

Sampling procedures

  • Multistage
  • Stratified

125 DEDs randomly selected

Within these a random house was picked as the starting house

Quota sampling was employed.  Respondents were included based on a quota i.e. a certain number based on gender, age, region, socio-economic status and disability status.

A separate booster sample of the population was selected of people who had a disability. This booster sample allowed us to increase the number of people with a disability in the sample, thus enabling a more robust comparison of people with and without disabilities. Regional quota controls were placed on the booster sample to ensure it was in line with the number of people with disabilities in the main sample. The booster sample was also collected from the 125 DEDs.

Response rate

As this was a quota sample response rates were not recorded.


We used rim weighting to calculate weights. The sample for the main survey was nationally representative. The booster also broadly followed the nationally representative quotas in that disabled people were targeted in all regions , genders, age etc.

The full sample of main and booster was merged and then the weights calculated using rim weights.

Below is one of many links that explains rim weighting:

We weighted by applying the know percentages to the below variables.

  • Disabled Yes/No
  • Class
  • Region
  • Area
  • Nationality
  • Age within gender




Data (available through ISSDA application process)

File name


File format/s

Contents of file

0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017


Dataset for 2017


Documentation (available for download)

File name


File format/s

(preferably PDF)

Contents of file

0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017_codebook


Notes on anonymisation and explanation of each variable

0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017_survey


Questionnaire and introductory statements

0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017_showcards


Contains the four show cards that were used during administration of the questionnaire where respondents were shown the options in order to answer certain questions.

0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017_report0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017_report



0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017_report_plain_english PDF Plain English Report
0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017_report_easy_read PDF Easy to Read Report
0048-03 NDA_public_attitudes_disability_2017_executive_summary PDF Executive Summary





Accessing the data

To access the data, please complete a ISSDA Data Request Form for Research Purposes, sign it, and send it to ISSDA by email.

Data will be disseminated on receipt of a fully completed, signed form. Incomplete or unsigned forms will be returned to the data requester for completion.


The NDA own the copyright for these data.


Any work based in whole or part on resources provided by the ISSDA, should  acknowledge: “National Survey of Public Attitudes to Disability in Ireland" and also ISSDA, in the following way: “Accessed via the Irish Social Science Data Archive -”.

Citation requirement

The data and its creators shall be cited in all publications and presentations for which the data have been used. The bibliographic citation may be in the form suggested by the archive or in the form required by the publication.

National Disability Authority (NDA). (2018). National Survey of Public Attitudes to Disability in Ireland, 2017. [dataset]. Version 1. Irish Social Science Data Archive. SN: 0048-03.


The user shall notify the Irish Social Science Data Archive of all publications where she or he has used the data.