Perceptions of professional and paraprofessional staff as to the quality of a training curriculum on the care of aging individuals with life-long disabilities

Date of Completion

January 1999


Gerontology|Education, Industrial|Education, Educational Psychology




Research in the field of developmental disabilities relating to aging has focused on definitions, characteristics, services, and quality of life. Staff training, specifically of paraprofessionals, as it relates to improving the quality of life of individuals with developmental disabilities, has received little attention. ^ The focus of this study was to develop a measurement system for reviewing the validity and reliability of a specialized training curriculum. Secondly, given that professional and paraprofessional staff are responsible for rendering services to the elderly, this study examined how they rated the components of the training modules and whether the ratings between the two groups were similar. ^ A Principal Axis Factor Analysis was used to assess construct validity ratings of the measurement system. The subscales supported by the factor analysis were further examined for internal consistency using Crombach's Alpha for reporting reliability scores. A Multivariate Analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to analyze scores obtained with the measurement system to determine whether differences existed between professional and paraprofessional staff with respect to what a specialized training curriculum should encompass. ^ The results of the research indicated that the “Assessment of Content Questionnaire” were appropriate for assessing a specialized training curriculum. The Principal Axis Factor Analysis yielded two distinct factors, the “Comprehensive Factor” and the “Death and Dying Factor”. Overall reliability of the questionnaire was determined to be 96%. No significant differences were found between professional and paraprofessional staff regarding what they believed a specialized training curriculum for paraprofessional staff in the area of aging and life-long disabilities should include. ^