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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Maladaptive behavior of mentally retarded adults : a comparison of two measures Gardner, JoAnne Marie


Since 1973, Adaptive Behavior has been recommended by the American Association of Mental Deficiency as an important measure for classifying mentally retarded subjects. Recently, the literature has supported the use of maladaptive behavior measures to improve further this classification. However, problems result when attempting to assess maladaptive behavior. The AAMD Behavior Scale Part II (ABS) has a recorded interrater reliability of .57. The Maladaptive Behavior Profile, (MBP) a recently developed scale, has no validity and reliability information. The purpose of this study was to attempt to increase the reliability of the ABS Part II by modifying the scoring procedure. For example, the terms "none", "occasionally", and "frequently" were replaced with "none", "daily", "weekly", "monthly", "yearly". The second purpose of this study was to estimate the reliability of the MBP along with attempting to assess its validity. Also, the items of both scales were analyzed to provide further suggestions for modifications to the scales which will serve to enhance their utility. Finally, this study attempted to estimate the relationship maladaptive behavior (as measured by ABS total scores) had with placement, intelligence, length of institutionalization, sex, age, and etiology. A sample of 97 mentally retarded ambulatory adults residing in an institution were assessed using the ABS Part II (modified) and the MBP. Two raters familiar with the individual subject independently completed both scales. A sample of 32 subjects, selected from the 97 in sample 1, had the original ABS Part II rated independently by two additional raters. Observations were conducted on these 32 subjects in an attempt to validate the findings with the MBP. Biodemographic information (age, sex, etiology, etc.) was obtained from the resident's files. The results of this study revealed an interrater reliability of .706 for the modified version and a .448 interrater reliability coefficient for the original ABS. A rather low interrater reliability coefficient of .336 (severity) and .324 (Intervention) was found for the MBP. The item analysis information for the ABS modified and original and MBP revealed that many of the items were not discriminating among the institutionalized adults in the sample. Because of the low interrater reliability of the MBP and the Behavior Observation Checklist, a predictive criterion validity study was not conducted. However, a content validity summary provided guidelines for modifying the scale. Reason for admittance and placement were the only two biodemographic variables that reached significance when correlated with Maladaptive behavior. In conclusion, the modifications made to the ABS Part II greatly enhanced the reliability. The MBP, while still in the experimental stages, needs further modifications made to format, scoring, and the item pool in order to make it more reliable and effective as a programming instrument.

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