SOCIAL PROBLEM SOLVING AND VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
This study was undertaken for the purpose of exploring the social problem-solving abilities of moderately and mildly mentally retarded adults who were involved or had at one time been involved in vocational rehabilitation programs in New York State. In particular, the investigation compared a group of individuals who had achieved sheltered workshop status within vocational rehabilitation programs with a group of individuals who had dropped out of these programs. Greenberg's Test of the Hierarchy of Inductive Knowledge (THINK) was utilized to compare the two groups on social problem-solving abilities. A third group of individuals in vocational training at the time of the study was also included as a possible prediction base for future research.;It was hypothesized that those individuals who had successfully achieved sheltered worker status would demonstrate better social problem-solving abilities as measured by THINK than those individuals who had dropped out of vocational training programs.;The results revealed that the sheltered worker group performed better than the dropped group on all THINK levels. Differences between the groups were significant for only two of nine inductive levels, the VISUAL INFERENCES level and LEARNING STATEMENT level. These two levels reflected abilities involving drawing inferences and generating conclusions. Although not significant for all levels of THINK, there was an indication of a trend suggesting a positive relationship between vocational success and possession of social problem-solving abilities. This trend was supported by findings cited in the literature. For the current sample, where significant differences were found, these differences appeared to be explainable by scores obtained on intelligence tests. There were indications, however, that the skills measured by THINK were not all associated with the abilities tapped by prevalent IQ tests.;Higher performance on THINK was significantly related to being female, having a higher IQ, being younger, having had little institutionalization experience, having spent less time in extended Diagnostic Vocational Evaluation, and having had more Personal Adjustment and Vocational Training.;The findings were discussed relative to the interaction of content and process, and in regard to the facilitative effects of information and feedback. Overall low performance of the sample on THINK was interpreted as a function of process inadequacy, while variability across themes and across sets within themes was seen as reflective of a content effect. Providing additional visual and verbal information and feedback to clients served to facilitate performance on THINK as long as the task was concrete or only moderately abstract. However, when the task involved a high level of abstraction, additional feedback, even involving dual modalities, did not seem to raise performance.;THINK results were also compared to those found by Greenberg (1977) in her study of educable mentally retarded children. The current sample of adults performed much more poorly on all THINK levels than did the children in the Greenberg sample. Implications of the investigation were also discussed in relation to the efficacy of the OVR system and in relation to the development of curriculum that would address the process needs of mentally retarded individuals.;THINK was found to be a viable measure of social problem-solving abilities among mildly retarded adults that merits further study and development for use as both an assessment instrument and a training device. The vocational rehabilitation system in New York City was found lacking in innovation and creativity and appeared in need of imaginative and courageous leadership to meet the needs of its current and future consumers.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-04, Section: A, page: 1529.