Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Doris A. Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. David L. Nelson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Occupational therapists state that environmental factors (seating arrangements) influence behavior. This ex post facto study examined the effect of peripheral versus central seating arrangement on interaction (verbalizing and looking), affect, and group climate in 41 healthy senior citizens. Nine men and 32 women aged 62 to 83 participated in two collage activities (creative and imitative) in either a parallel/nonsharing group or a project/ sharing group. Seating arrangement was added to an earlier study's independent variables (creative and imitative activities, and sharing and nonsharing groups). Dependent variables consisted of three factors of affective meaning from the Osgood Semantic Differential, evaluation, power, and action; three factors from MacKenzie's Group Climate Questionnaire, engagement, conflict, and avoidance; and verbalizing and looking. MANOVA analyses showed no significant differences in any of the dependent variables as a result of seating arrangement. Recommendations are made for research that examines environmental influences on behavior.