The relationship between behaviour motivation and social functioning in persons with intellectual impairment

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OBJECTIVES: To assess the social functioning of individuals with severe and profound intellectual impairment who displayed maladaptive behaviour for one particular reason, as assessed by a functional analysis checklist. DESIGN: The social skills of 100 persons with severe and profound intellectual impairment were studied. The Matson Evaluation of Social Skills for the Individuals with Severe Retardation (MESSIER) was used to assess social functioning. Participants were placed into one of four groups according to function of maladaptive behaviour as assessed by the Questions About Behaviour Function Scale (QABF). METHODS: A multivariate analysis of variance and follow-up univariate F-tests were conducted using MESSIER subscales as the dependent variables and QABF function as the independent variable. To identify specific social skill strengths and weaknesses associated with each function group, the means of MESSIER items were calculated for each function group, and the 10 most frequently endorsed items were displayed. RESULTS: Significant differences were found for all the MESSIER subscales except one. A list of most commonly displayed behaviours for each function group was identified. DISCUSSION: This research represents the first attempt to systematically identify social strengths and weaknesses associated with behaviour function. Results revealed a pattern of social behaviours among groups, indicating that positive and negative social behaviour varies somewhat with behaviour motivation. The implications of these findings for clinical utility are discussed.

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The British journal of clinical psychology

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