Impact of an environment-focused problem-solving and goal setting intervention on self-determination for transition age youth with developmental disabilities
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High levels of self-determination are associated with positive adult outcomes for young adults with developmental disabilities. Project TEAM is an intervention that teaches skills related to self-determination. The primary aims of Project TEAM are attainment of activity goals and increase in curriculum-related knowledge. This secondary analysis of a quasi-experimental study with pre and post measures and two non-randomized groups (Project TEAM participants and a “goal-setting only” comparison group) had two aims: (a) to evaluate if participation in Project TEAM is associated with greater increases in self-determination over time compared to participation in a “goal-setting only” condition; and (b) to identify predictors of change in self-determination. ANCOVA and ANCOVA analyses evaluated change in self-determination over time and regression analyses were used to evaluate predictors of changes in self-determination. The results suggest a non-significant pattern of increase in self-determination for all youth over time. Although no significant within or between group differences were identified for youth-reported changes in self-determination, youth who were younger and/or had lower levels of self-determination at baseline had greater increases in self-determination, with initial self-determination contributing significant unique variance to a predictive model. The inclusion of adaptive behavior as a covariate led to the loss of within group effects for parent-reported changes in self-determination. However, adaptive behavior was not significantly associated with or predictive of changes in parent-reported self-determination. We propose that our results reflect a dynamic relationship between personal characteristics, youths’ and parents’ frames of reference, and perceived self-determination.