'We just call them people': positive regard as a dimension of culture in group homes for people with severe intellectual disability Academic Article uri icon


  • A dimension of the culture in group homes is staff regard for residents. In underperforming group homes, staff regard residents as being not 'like us' (Bigby, Knox, Beadle-Brown, Clement & Mansell, 2012). We hypothesized the opposite pole of this dimension, in higher performing group homes, would be that staff regard residents positively.Three in-depth qualitative case studies were conducted in higher performing group homes using participant observation, interviews and document review.Consistent pattern of staff practices and talk, as well as artefacts, demonstrated staff had a positive regard for residents, who were seen as being 'like us'. Explicit and continuing attention was given to sustaining positive regard for residents in everyday staff practices and to turning abstract values into concrete realities.This positive cultural norm was established, operationalized and embedded through structures, such as a formal policy about language, and processes such as peer monitoring and practice leadership.

publication date

  • July 2015