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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Kenneth Beauchamp

First Committee Member

Gary Howells

Second Committee Member

Cris Clay


Health care for the mentally disabled is often hindered by the inability of patients to identify and communicate their health problems to their health care professional. This study assessed the effectiveness of a nurse-patient communication skills training program for mentally disabled individuals. Forty-two participants who received a regular decanote shot (an injected anti-psychotic medication released over time) were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. The treatment consisted of three 90-min skills training sessions on symptom monitoring, medication management, and communication skills. Assessments were conducted at an injection appointment pretreatment, posttreatment, and at follow-up. Participants were assessed by pencil-and-paper test on the acquisition of symptom monitoring and medication management skills. In addition, patients were observed in an audio-recorded interaction with their nurse. Results identified that communication training was effective in increasing the participation of patients during a nurse's visit at posttest and at up to a 1-month follow-up. Explanation of results and recommendations for improvements for future studies are discussed.



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