Using unnamed vignettes may underestimate carers responses to challenging behaviour in people with learning disabilities

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This study looked at the responses of paid carers to incidents of challenging behaviour. The author was interested in the potential inconsistency of responses. Studies of responses to challenging behaviour have used stimuli that might generate different responses from carers to those that might be generated by actual instances of behaviour of real people.

To test this, he worked with 62 paid carers and them to report attributions, emotions and intended behavioural responses to behaviour presented by an unnamed person and the same behaviour presented by a named and known person. The carers were also asked to complete a scale of behavioural knowledge.

The results showed differences in responses to behaviour by known or unknown individuals. The carers made more internal and global attributions and tended to identify themselves as less optimistic in response to vignettes relating to named and known people over those of unnamed people.

When looking at the application of Weiner’s motivational model of helping however, the researcher found that  data from both unnamed and named vignettes were consistent in demonstrating a mediated model for controllability, anger and helping intention.

The conclusion from the study is that unnamed vignettes may “underestimate the intensity of carers’ responses to challenging behaviour”

Carers’ Responses to Challenging Behaviour: A Comparison of Responses to Named and Unnamed Vignettes, Dagnan D, in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25: 88–94.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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