Knowing you: the inter-personal perceptions of staff towards aggressive individuals with mild to moderate learning disabilities in situations of conflict

Jahoda, A. and Wanless, L.K. (2005) Knowing you: the inter-personal perceptions of staff towards aggressive individuals with mild to moderate learning disabilities in situations of conflict. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 49(7), pp. 544-551. (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2005.00693.x)

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Abstract

Objectives Staff attributions concerning challenging behaviour have been found to play a role in determining their responses. The emphasis in the literature has been on staff beliefs about the challenging behaviour itself. However, staff are also likely to be responding to the person engaging in the behaviour. The aim of this study was to explore workers’ perceptions of individuals who are frequently aggressive.

Design and methods Thirty-six staff members working with individuals presenting problems of frequent aggression participated in this study. They were interviewed about an incident of aggression involving the person they worked with. The semi-structured interview, based on a Rational Emotive Therapy format, aimed to tap into the emotions aroused in the staff members and interpersonal appraisals that they made at the time of the incident. The responses were content analyzed.

Results The strength of the staff member's emotional reactions were noteworthy. Furthermore, approximately half of the staff members believed that the clients’ aggression was directed at them personally. In turn, the majority of staff members described their clients in negative terms, and said that their first impulse had been to confront the clients.

Conclusions The findings suggest that interpersonal perceptions may have a role in determining staff responses to individuals who behave aggressively. The clinical and theoretical implications of the findings were discussed, alongside directions for future research.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jahoda, Professor Andrew
Authors: Jahoda, A., and Wanless, L.K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Clinical Specialities
Journal Name:Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0964-2633
ISSN (Online):1365-2788
Published Online:17 March 2005

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