The Relationship Between Caretakers’ Music Preferences and the Perceived Music Preferences of Adults with Developmental Disabilities.

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Brockington, Debra
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Adults with developmental disabilities are a unique population. They are accorded by law all the rights to make decisions for themselves but many times lack the ability to do so. In this situation, they are dependent on those they come in contact with to provide opportunities for recreation and social activities. The goal of this study was to determine if music preference was influenced by the people this population came in contact with most often: their direct care staff. The participants for this study were the direct care staff of a long term intermediate care facility for adults with developmental disabilities. Participants were asked to complete a survey indicating their music preferences and what they believe the music preferences are of the adults for whom they care. Demographic information was collected for all participating residents and staff. Results were given a binary code and a mean was obtained to determine music preferences for each of the residents and for the entire group of participants and residents. A Pearson’s r value was calculated to determine if a correlation exists, possibly indicating the staff had an influence on the music preferences of the residents. Based on the data, influences by individuals played less of a role in determining music preferences than did each person’s demographic status. Other undetermined factors also had an influence in the music preferences of some individuals which were stronger than what the demographic would indicate. Future research in this area should include others involved with this population and should be repeated over a period of time.