Date of Conferral
The problem addressed in this study was how staff working in a residential agency for individuals with an intellectual disability (IID) make decisions about how to implement a healthy diet. The purpose of this study was to identify the influences on decisions made by staff on the meals they provided to their clients with an IID. The theory of planned was used to study the influences of attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavior control on the meals provided for IID. The key research question explored how staff members make decisions. A qualitative case study design was used. The 12 participants in the study represented 3 levels of personnel (cases) in a residential agency that served the IID population. Individual interviews were conducted, and within-case and across-case analyses were employed utilizing the theory to note similarities and differences in meal planning, preparation, and implementation. Pattern matching was used to compare results from the study with previous research findings. Results showed that clients had a greater influence over meal planning, preparation, and delivery, particularly those with higher cognitive levels. This was true across all levels in the agency and consistent with prior research. Recommendations for further study include studying similar agencies in different regions and whether providing staff with additional knowledge about meal planning makes a difference in meals provided to IID. Social change can be implemented by using the information from the study to develop a preliminary intervention plan to accommodate the needs of IID and assist staff in developing nutritious meals.