Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Ruth L. Meese, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Stephen C. Keith, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Peggy L. Tarpley, Ph.D.


Community-based instruction (CBI) is an important part of many educational curricula. Through CBI, employees from various service industries come into contact with individuals with mental retardation. Using a qualitative study:, the purpose of this research was to identify employees' reactions to customers with mental retardation. Six subjects were randomly selected to participate in the study. Two subjects from the fast food industry:, supermarket industry:, and the department store industry: were selected. One subject from each location had experience working with individuals with mental retardation. Subjects responded to a series of open ended questions. Results indicated five themes: (1) Employees perceive individuals with mental retardation as requiring extra attention and patience, (2) An employee's job responsibility is to assist and help meet the needs of individuals with mental retardation, (3) Employees feel sympathy for individuals with mental retardation, (4) Individuals with mental retardation have the right to participate in the community, and (5) Relations between employees and customers with mental retardation need improving.



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