Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




This study was undertaken for the purpose of investigating the possibility of an appreciable difference in flexibility between institutional and community male, adolescent, retardates. The property of flexibility was chosen for investigation since the development of this attribute seems to be critical to occupational success in terms of satisfactory, inter-personal relationships. To begin with, an incidental sample was selected from the two Shawnee County special education classrooms in Topeka, Kansas. Matched for chronological age and verbal IQ, a second sample was chosen from the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center, Parsons, Kansas. A test was developed to measure spontaneous semantic flexibility. A discussion of content validity was presented. In addition, a measure of concurrent validity in terms of an empirical criterion was undertaken. The correlation between the new test and the empirical criterion was .63. The new test was administered to both groups of subjects. The results were scored for "class" and 'shift" by two raters working independently of one another. A reliability figure of .98 was obtained between the raters in their scoring of both "shift" and "class." The correlation between "shift" and "class" scores was .99. Tests of significance between both groups on measures of "shift" and "class" were then calculated.

It was found that at the .01 level of confidence the community group displayed a significantly higher degree of flexibility than the institutional group on both measures of "shift" and "class." From a review of the social histories of the subjects it was noted that all the subjects from the institutional sample had records of negative community involvement. There were no subjects in the community group that had histories of delinquent behavior. It was, therefore, concluded that those retardates who are institutionalized possibly lack the coping behaviors that enable the community group to remain in the community. And as a result of this study, it seemed reasonable to assume that the rigidity-flexibility dimension is a critical factor in the more generic concept of "coping."


vi, 95 leaves ; 28 cm. Bibliography: leaves 63-66.

Included in

Psychology Commons


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