Attachment styles of staff and people in care-homes : an investigation into effects on challenging behaviour
There is wide acceptance that challenging behaviour (CB) is a common feature of people with dementia. The current literature has demonstrated that a wide variety of factors may contribute to either the amount of CB or the subjective difficulty of management and burden perceived by those who care for people with dementia. This study is preceded by a literature review that examines the contribution of attachment theory to our understanding of why some people with dementia may show greater levels ofCB and why both family and professional carers may show such wide variations in their response to CB. The focus of the main study was to replicate previous fmdings, ie. that those with 'insecure' attachment styles would demonstrate higher levels ofCB, while addressing a methodological weakness in previous research. The attachment styles of paid staff were also investigated and their relationship to perceived levels ofCB, positive perceptions of work and burnout examined. Finally the possibility of an interactive effect between staff and resident attachment styles was investigated. Results did not support previous fmdings and this is discussed with reference to the change in methodology. Limitations to this study and future research directions are discussed. A review of the contributions to theory, research and practice follows. This paper discusses further the strengths and weaknesses of the current research and the contribution made to original knowledge. Future research directions are indicated and the implications for clinical practice are discussed. Finally personal motivations and process issues arising from this research are presented.