EFFECTS OF TRAINING IN BEHAVIORAL PRINCIPLES ON GERIATRIC RESIDENTS AND STAFF.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe operant model applied to geriatric settings has provided optimistic data with regard to the reversibility of behavior deficits in elderly residents. Naturalistic studies have demonstrated that one major class of resident behavioral deficiencies, dependency, tends to be encouraged by staff whereas independent functioning tends to be ignored. Only a few studies have attempted to change this interactional pattern from staff dependent-supportive to independent-supportive responses to increase residents independent functioning. The present study was a further attempt to alter these interactional patterns between staff and residents. It departs most notably from earlier studies in that cognitive and perceptual changes for residents and aides were evaluated in addition to overt behavioral changes. Specifically, the purpose of this project was to increase independent functioning and improve mood, perceptions of the environment and morale in institutionalized geriatric residents. To accomplish this, 12 nurses' aides were trained in operant principles and techniques. Self-report and behavioral measures were obtained for residents and staff in a treatment and no-intervention control group. No significant results emerged for aides and residents in the intervention condition. The failure to find significant results is discussed in terms of one or a combination of variables including: problems encountered in conducting research in naturalistic settings, deficiencies in the training program, perceptual biases of the staff and the appropriateness of the theoretical model employed. Limitations of the study and directions for future research are explored.