Date of Conferral



Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)




Lisa Scharff


Direct support professionals work with developmentally disabled individuals and are responsible for implementing behavior intervention support plans (BISPs). Little is known about the efficacy of supplemental BISP training in these professionals. The purpose of this quantitative experimental study was to investigate the efficacy of BISP training to improve knowledge and applied understanding of BISPs in direct support professionals. Social validation, treatment fidelity, and change theories served as the foundations of the study. Seventy-three newly hired direct support professionals were randomized into an experimental group with a 2-day workshop training or a standard training group. BISP knowledge was assessed before and after the workshop in the experimental group and before and after a two-week period of work for the standard training group. A series of t-tests revealed no statistical differences between groups on the pretest measures. The experimental group demonstrated significant improvement in their knowledge of BISPs, whereas the standard training group did not significantly change their knowledge of BISPs over time. The experimental group also had significantly larger change scores in the tests, demonstrating a significant increase in knowledge compared to the standard training group. Similar designs could be used with other training programs to make training more cost-effective and targeted at important skills. Effective support plan training can lead to positive social change through improved client treatment, leading to enhanced welling for patients and their families, as well as positive outcomes for direct care workers and their institutions.