Deinstitutionalization requires relocation of mentally residents. An exploratory investigation was conducted of the impact of interinstitutional relocation. The subjects were residents transferred from a large institution to a smaller facility and a matched comparison group from the latter facility. The 92 male and female subjects ranged from 10 to 42 years of age. The Adaptive Behavior Scale was administered prior to relocation, immediately following relocation, and 6 to 8 weeks following relocation. Higher functioning residents showed a pattern of lowered functioning and withdrawal following relocation. Relative to the comparison group, they were more withdrawn and suffered setbacks in language development. In contrast, lower functioning residents generally increased activity levels of both adaptive and acting-out behavior. The necessity for risk/benefit analysis preceding decisions to relocate residents was discussed.
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