People with IDD are not engaged enough in meaningful day activities


Renata Ticha, PhD
University of Minnesota

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) tend to have significantly lower levels of social and non-social engagement than people without disabilities. By social engagement we mean for example spending time with friends, while non-social engagement can include watering plants or preparing dinner. The purpose of this study was to investigate individual and organizational factors that influence the levels of engagement of people with IDD living in group homes.

What did you do in your research?
We observed levels of social and non-social engagement of 78 people with IDD living in 21 group homes across the US. Direct staff professionals (n=174) and supervisors (n=21) were also observed. We then examined the factors that have a significant effect on the engagement of people with IDD at individual (e.g., adaptive behavior) as well as organizational (e.g., direct support staff turnover) levels.

What did you find out?
We found overall low levels of engagement in meaningful daily activities of people with IDD living in group homes. As a group, people with IDD in this study were engaged in social activities 12% of the time, while in non-social activities 35% of the time. Those with less severe disability had higher levels of both social and non-social engagement. Better adaptive and less challenging behavior of people with IDD was significant predictors of their non-social engagement. Better adaptive behavior and higher competence of direct support staff were significant predictors of social engagement.

What are the take-home messages?
People with IDD are currently not as engaged in meaningful daily activities compared to people without disabilities. Work needs to be done to investigate the use of effective strategies for staff working with people with disabilities in residential settings to increase the time people with IDD spend in social and non-social activities. The more daily living skills the person with a disability has, the more they tend to be engaged in daily activities. Staff competence has a positive impact on social engagement of people with IDD.

To learn more about these findings contact Renata Ticha or visit:
The Institute on Community Integration, The Research and Training Center on Community Living, Partnerships in Wellness Project (funded by NIDRR) at the Institute on Community Integration.

Full Journal Article
Qian, X., Tichá, R., Larson, S. A., Stancliffe, R. J., & Wuorio, A. (2015). The impact of individual and organisational factors on engagement of individuals with intellectual disability living in community group homes: a multilevel model. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59(6).