Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. Wilbur Watson


This study investigated the social organization of a predominately black nursing home in the city of Atlanta and the care of severely ill residents. Five hypotheses were tested in this study: (l) The higher the status of staff in the nursing home, the more negative the attitudes towards the severely impaired patient. Stated another way, there will be an inverse relationship between staff status and attitudes toward severely impaired patients; (2) Staff members who exhibit high levels of religiosity are more likely than their low religious counterparts to experience positive attitudes toward death and dying; (3) The higher the external locus of control, the more positive the attitudes toward dying; (4) Negative attitudes toward the severely impaired patient will increase as the educational level increases; (5) Positive attitudes toward aging will increase as the age of the staff member increases. Three out of these five hypotheses were partially confirmed (hypotheses 1, 3, and 5) and two (hypotheses 2 and 4) were rejected. The qualitative data obtained through informal interviews with each of the two directors of Sadie G. Mays indicated that the severely impaired patients were assigned to an exclusive ward (Ward D) in order to improve the efficiency of the treatment program. Although these findings are quite applicable to Sadie G. Mays Nursing Home, caution is required before generalizing them to the entire minority nursing home staff population, due to the small sample size (N=25).

Included in

Sociology Commons