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Title: Challenging behaviour in older adults : a study of care staff attributions and management
Author: Thomas, Susan
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2001
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Objectives. The aim of this study was to explore the application of Weiner's attributional theory of motivation and emotion to care staff working with older adults with challenging behaviour. The research aimed to examine the effect of challenging behaviour type and dependency levels on attributions and the role of optimism and positive affect as mediators for willingness to care for and change patients' behaviour. The study further aims to investigate associations between attributions and management of challenging behaviour by care staff, including abusive and depersonalising actions. Design. A two-factor repeated measures design was used to examine the relative effect of dependency and challenging behaviour upon ratings of attributional dimensions, affect, optimism, and two variables of care staff behaviour. Correlations and path analysis were employed to examine the role of affect and optimism upon the care staff behaviour variables. ANOVAs and correlations were used to examine the effect of challenging behaviour type and dependency upon management strategy use and correlations were used to examine relationships between attributions, affects and management strategies. Method. The participants were 46 unqualified care staff working in specialist NHS mental health residential settings for older adults. Participants rated six vignettes of scenarios of challenging behaviour of older adults for attributions, affects, optimism, and willingness to care for and change the behaviour of the client. Care staff also rated the likelihood that they would use a variety of management strategies in response to the behaviour. Results. Significant differences in attributions were found for different dependency levels and challenging behaviour types. Correlations and path analysis showed that caring for clients was inversely predicted by negative emotion, which was predicted by control. Willingness to change the client's behaviour was best predicted by optimism, which was inversely related to attributions of stability. Abusive strategy use was significantly higher for high dependency clients and was associated with negative affect. Conclusion. The results are consistent with Weiner's attributional theory of motivation and emotion and are discussed in relation to previous research and the wider literature. Clinical implications of the research in the areas of staff training and selection are discussed, as are suggestions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available