Leadership Behaviors of Health Professionals and the Associations with Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Related to Health Promotion for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Principal Investigator: Harolyn Belcher

The study was completed under protocol: NA_00014866. There will be no change in questions, plan or new data collection. Reactivating study to analyze the data previously collected and for manuscript submissions.
This study used quantitative survey methodology to assess health professionals working within the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Network to measure leadership behaviors and health promotion practices. The outcome variables were knowledge, attitudes, and practices of these professionals influenced by leadership behaviors, professional discipline, and years post licensure. The study addressed the following aim, research questions, and hypotheses:
The overarching aim of the study was to analyze the association between leadership behaviors of AUCD Network professionals’ and their knowledge, attitudes, and practices of health promotion for persons with developmental disabilities. The study survey addressed the following questions and hypotheses:
Q1: Are transformational leadership behaviors associated with AUCD professionals’ knowledge, attitude, and practice of health promotion?
H-1.1: There is a positive association between transformational leadership behaviors and knowledge, attitudes, and practices of health professionals in health promotion activities for persons with developmental disabilities.
Q2: Is the association between transformational leadership and AUCD network professionals’ knowledge, attitude, and practice of health promotion effected by discipline and/or years post licensure?
H-2.1: Non-physician disciplines will have a higher degree of association than physician disciplines between transformational leadership and knowledge, attitudes, and practices in health promotion activities for persons with developmental disabilities.
H-2.2: AUCD health professionals with less than 5 years post licensure will have higher associations between transformational leadership and knowledge, attitudes, and practices in health promotion activities for persons with developmental disabilities.
Q3: Do knowledge and attitudes mediate the association between leadership and AUCD health professionals’ practice of health promotion?
H-3.1: Transformational leadership is associated with higher knowledge resulting in more routine practices in health promotion activities for persons with developmental disabilities.
H-3.2: Transformational leadership is associated with more positive attitudes resulting in more routine practices in health promotion activities for persons with developmental disabilities.
Health professionals within the AUCD Network—specialty physicians (developmental pediatricians, orthopedists, neurologists, etc.); physical therapists; occupational therapists; nurses; social workers, psychologists, nutritionists, and other specialists within the AUCD network were surveyed to determine the impact of leadership characteristics on knowledge, attitudes, and practices and about health promotion activities. At the time this study was conducted there were 67 UCEDDs, 38 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND), 19 Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRC), ), and affiliates, all serving to improve the lives of persons with developmental disabilities across the lifespan in the United States. The data, without any identifiers, were collected via electronic survey emailed to AUCD professionals using the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) web directory.