Evaluation of a residential environment for the severely physically disabled

Date

1973

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Abstract

Through the use of daily diary records, kept by subjects themselves, this study investigated the relation between residential setting and daily life activities of spinal cord injured young adults. The study was especially directed toward evaluation of the effects of a particular residential setting, one specifically designed to have a positive impact on the functioning of the severely physically disabled young adult, in comparison with the other two available living alternatives, home and nursing home. Residents of the special setting, a residence established by the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR), were matched with other disabled individuals on the following criteria: age, marital status, sex, race, educational level, level of disability, and age at onset. TIRR residents who had previously lived in nursing homes were matched with disabled individuals living in nursing homes; those who had lived at home were matched with disabled individuals living at home. A non-disabled control group was included as well, in order to provide a 'norm,� a base rate estimate for the comparison of the two disabled groups. Subjects in the non-disabled group were also matched with the TIRR residents on age, marital status, sex, race, and educational level. Subjects in all three groups (TIRR residence, home-nursing home, and non-disabled) kept daily records of their activities, interpersonal contacts, and settings or locations entered over a period of one week. From the diaries, 15 dependent variables were derived: (1) number of activities engaged in during the week, (2) number of varieties of activities, (3) number of activities performed with others, (4) number of activities performed alone, (5) number of persons interacted with, without regard to repetition of particular persons, (6) number of different persons interacted with, (8) number of persons interacted with other than family or attendant, (9) number of entrances into settings, (10) number of different settings entered, (11) number of types of settings entered, (12) number of entrances into settings outside residence, (13) number of vocational- educational activities, (14) number of social-recreational activities, (15) number of business-commercial activities. Comparisons were made to determine significant differences among the three groups, and the extent of similarity among groups was estimated through analysis of overlap of the group distributions. The two disabled groups were found to be significantly different on two variables, the TIRR group having interacted with more persons other than family members or attendants and with more different persons. The non-disabled group exceeded both disabled groups on all variables related to settings, on number of vocational-educational activities, and number of social-recreational activities. The non-disabled group also exceeded the home-nursing home group in varieties of activities, and exceeded the TIRR group in number of activities performed alone. The two disabled groups varied considerably in the extent of similarity to the non-disabled group. The results were discussed in two contexts: in terms of how well the TIRR residence fulfilled its goals and how closely it approximated the norm in comparison with other residential alternatives.

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Keywords

People with disabilities, Housing, Rehabilitation

Citation