Abstract

Two groups of 12 emotionally disturbed children were randomly assigned to either a distractive or a distraction-free room. The children were measured for inattention (length of time off task), distractibility (number of times off task), and impulsivity (measured by the Matching Familiar Figures Test). Results showed that children in a distraction-free room were more attentive than those in a distractive room. Also, children engaging in a structured activity were less distractible than those engaging in an unstructured activity. The relationship of room environment and activity structure on an emotionally disturbed child’s behaviors of distractibility and inattention were discussed in relation to clinical occupational therapy and future research efforts.

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