Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Donna Sullivan

Second Advisor

Marty Laubach

Third Advisor

Maggie Stone


Direct care staff, or DCS, are individuals tasked with providing a number of care services to individuals with disabilities in various settings. This study focuses on a group of direct care staff working at a day habilitation program in central West Virginia. Training techniques used to prepare these workers for a diverse array of roles are reviewed comparatively and through a sociological theoretical lens utilizing perspectives from Bandura (1977), Laubach (2005), Marx (1964), and Wolfensberger (1983). Semi-structured interview results indicate that formal training is driven by a less valorous view of disabled individuals as a class than informal training; that informal training is driven by social learning; that direct care workers do not experience alienation of their labor as intensely as those in other professions; and, that in residential direct care settings, clients act as brokers for the transaction of consent between the informal periphery and the administrative clan. Implications are discussed in the conclusion.


People with disabilities -- Care.

People with disabilities -- Medical care.