Staff perceptions of the quality of life for individuals with mental retardation living in an institutional setting and for those living in a community setting

Suzie Murray Lassiter

Abstract

The general purpose of this study was to determine if there was a difference between total quality of life scores and quality of life indicator subscale scores of individuals with mental retardation and the environment in which they live. In addition, the study examined the relationship between adaptive behavior and living environment on the variables of total quality of life and the indicator subscales of quality of life. Data was collected through the utilization of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale, Interview Edition and the Schalock and Keith Quality of Life Questionnaire. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale utilized direct service staff as respondents to classify individuals as functioning at either a mild, moderate, severe or profound level of adaptive skills. The Quality of Life Questionnaire utilized the individuals masters level psychologist and qualified mental retardation professional to assess the individuals total quality of life and quality of life on the four indicator scales of satisfaction, competence/productivity, empowerment/independence and social belonging/community integration. The major finding of this study indicates that individuals living in community-based programs are perceived by professional staff as experiencing a higher quality of life as defined by the Schalock and Keith Scale than individuals living in an institutional setting. These results support the premise that environment is a major factor which influences the perception of quality of life.