Article Title

Understanding the Influence of Social Networks and Social Roles on Individuals with Developmental Disabilities: Providing Opportunities in Order to Assess Quality of Life

Graduation Year



This study investigates the influence of social role opportunities on quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD). It also explores the impact of informal social networks on social capital for this population. This study analyzed the effects of newly created social role opportunities on quality of life for a small group of individuals with DD. The hypothesis suggested that those given a new social role would report a higher quality of life than those not given a new role. Pre-test/post-test interviews were administered and a 6 week intervention was implemented with participants of a local social group in order to assess quality of life. A Social Capital Index interview was also conducted to determine the social capital of the participants in the social group. In terms of social capital, the second hypothesis proposed that members of the social group would have more social capital than those who were not members of a social group. Results from this interview were compared to data from individuals who were not members of a social group in order to determine if informal social networks influence social capital. Nonparametric statistics were used, but no statistically significant findings were revealed. Despite the lack of significance, qualitative evidence aligns with previous literature and suggests that people with development disabilities share a common desire for more social role opportunities.


Ms. Piro's paper was awarded University Honors.