This research study was a quasi-experimental one designed to investigate the effects of touch on responsive behaviors of confused elderly nursing home residents. This study is based on Neuman's Systems Model of Nursing and examines the effects of touch as a means of communication between the confused elderly person and the environment. The population included all confused elderly residents in a nursing home in the southeastern region of the United States. The sample was comprised of 16 residents over the age of 55 years who scored three to eight errors on the Mental Status Questionnaire (Kahn, Goldfarb, Pollack, & Gerber, 1960; Kahn, Goldfarb, Pollack, and Peck, 1960). Subjects were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. Both experimental and control groups attended four group interaction sessions during a 2-week period. The experimental subjects were touched by the researcher during the sessions, and the control subjects were not touched. Responsive behaviors were scored on the Nonverbal Behavior Worksheet (McCorkle, 1974) by an observer. Responsive behaviors included the following categories : facial expres sions, body movements, eye contact, and general response. The statistical test utilized in the study was the independent t_ test at the .05 level of significance. The ^ test revealed a significant difference in the experimental group's positive facial expressions and positive body movements. No significant difference between the two groups was revealed in the remaining responsive behavior categories. Thus, the hypothesis was rejected.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Rayma Skinner

Second Advisor

Mary Patricia Curtis

Third Advisor

Nancy Hill

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons