Staff preferences in children with mental retardation

Susan Dickerson Mayes, Frederick J. Humphrey, Alison Moll, John F. Mitchell, Susan L. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Staff at a residential facility for children with mental retardation rated their most‐preferred and least‐preferred children on a list of child characteristics. Staff‐perceived characteristics that differed significantly between the most‐ and least‐preferred children were subjective traits involving physical attributes, mood, behaviour, and social qualities. The remaining characteristics comprised objective developmental traits that did not differentiate the two groups. Small children were more likely to be rated most‐preferred, and large children least‐preferred. Staff tended to discount positive traits in their least‐preferred children and tolerate negative attributes in their most‐preferred children. Some children were rated as both most‐ and least‐preferred by different caregivers. These findings add to the understanding of staff perceptions and attitudes and have implications for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-253
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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