The proposed research will examine one of the least studied aspects of residential settings for people with retardation: The consequences of various physical environmental arrangements in which residential services are provided. Project 1 will investigate the relation between physical features of community residences for persons with retardation judged """"""""homelike"""""""" or """"""""institutional"""""""" and the behavior of persons with mental retardation residing in those settings. Residences serving persons with retardation that are alike in client admission characteristics, staff characteristics and program philosophies, but differ in perceived """"""""homelikeness"""""""" or """"""""institutional"""""""" qualities will be studied. Observations of adaptive and maladaptive behavior of residents will be made. The interrelationship of architectual features and behavior of persons in those settings will be examined. Family members will be asked to rate slides of rooms in residential settings for person with retardation to determine the degree to which they believe each room displayed would be likely to promote competent, independent behavior, would provide privacy and would be a healthy environment in which to live. Project 2 will deterine whether the interpretation of behavior of persons with retardation is conditional based on the setting within which the behavior occurs. Samples of behavior of persons with retardation will be videotaped in residential settings varying in perceived """"""""homelikeness"""""""" or """"""""institutional"""""""" qualities. People will be videotaped in natural settings displaying behavior typical of those settings. Three groups will be asked to rate each videotaped vignette. Raters will evaluate the degree of competence or disturbance displayed by people with retardation and the type of program methodology most effective in promoting further adjustinent of the person shown in the vignette and make a prediction about the person's living situation 2 years hence. The three groups rating the vignettes will be (1) direct care staff working in community residential programs, (2) family members of persons with retardation, and (3) developmental disabilities professionals working with persons who have retardation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Education
United States
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Egli, Mark; Feurer, Irene; Roper, Todd et al. (2002) The role of residential homelikeness in promoting community participation by adults with mental retardation. Res Dev Disabil 23:179-90
Egli, M; Roper, T; Feurer, I et al. (1999) Architectural acoustics in residences for adults with mental retardation and its relation to perceived homelikeness. Am J Ment Retard 104:53-66
Thompson, T; Robinson, J; Dietrich, M et al. (1996) Interdependence of architectural features and program variables in community residences for people with mental retardation. Am J Ment Retard 101:315-27
Thompson, T; Robinson, J; Dietrich, M et al. (1996) Architectural features and perceptions of community residences for people with mental retardation. Am J Ment Retard 101:292-314