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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Measuring Indices of Happiness in Adults with Profound Multiple Disabilities
by Darling, Joseph A., Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2014, 167; 3645429
Abstract (Summary)

Individuals with profound multiple disabilities (PMD) have significant deficits in intellectual functioning in addition to physical disabilities and associated medical conditions. Often, these individuals have communication deficits making the expression of basic wants and needs challenging. Given the communication difficulties associated with profound multiple disabilities, there is a need for systematic assessment to better understand emotional responses of individuals with profound multiple disabilities, including happiness responses. Methods to identify emotions of individuals with profound multiple disabilities have improved over the past few years. Within the field of psychology, there has been a growing base of empirical information regarding happiness. One of the defining concerns of positive psychologists is the positive emotion of happiness. Applied behavior analysis provides a body of research and theoretical underpinnings to examine theoretical gaps in expression of emotions for individuals who have profound multiple disabilities. This quantitative study assessed whether presentation of preferred items and activities during multiple periods of the day (and over multiple days) increased indices of happiness (over time/sustained) in individuals with PMD. A multiple baseline design across participants was utilized to measure changes in indices of happiness of the participants. Participants were recruited from an adult day activity program specializing in providing assistance to individuals with disabilities. For Mary, baseline indices of happiness were 26.67% of intervals, increasing 6.76% during intervention to 33.43%. For Caleb, baseline indices of happiness were 20.84% of intervals, increasing 6.34% during intervention to 27.18%. For Mark, baseline indices of happiness were 40.00% of intervals, increasing 12.75% during intervention to 52.75%. Overall interobserver agreement was 82.8%, with interobserver agreement observations occurring during 63.04% of the observations. The results of the investigation demonstrated that presenting preferred items and activities increased the indices of happiness compared to baseline rates of indices of happiness. Results may have been more robust if the participants were assessed for overall responsiveness patterns prior to the initiation of measurement of indices of happiness.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dippold, Lindsey K.
School: Northcentral University
Department: School of Psychology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Clinical psychology, Experimental psychology
Keywords: Applied behavior analysis, Happiness, Positive psychology, Profound multiple disabilities
Publication Number: 3645429
ISBN: 978-1-321-34451-6
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