Understanding staff responses to challenging behaviour in adults with a learning disability: the role of knowledge, attributions and emotion regulation style
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Introduction: Knowledge and attributions are frequently cited as variables which may help to understand staff responses to challenging behaviour in people with a learning disability. Previous research has found only partial support for Weiner‟s (1980, 1986) model of helping behaviour within a learning disability context. The study developed a clinical definition of „helping behaviour‟, and examined knowledge of challenging behaviour and the combination of attributions from Weiner‟s (1980, 1986) model in predicting staff helping behaviour. In addition the emotion regulation strategies of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression were investigated in moderating the relationship between attributions and helping behaviour, developing an overarching framework between attributions, staff stress and positive staff approaches to challenging behaviour. Method: One hundred and seven support staff completed self-report measures of knowledge of the term and management of challenging behaviour, causal attributions, emotion regulation style and behavioural response to challenging behaviour. Results: Knowledge and helpful attributions were significantly correlated with helping behaviour, however, when regressed onto helping behaviour, only knowledge significantly contributed to the variance. No significant correlations were found between emotion regulation styles and attributions. No moderating or mediating effect was found for emotion regulation styles on the relationship between attributions and helping behaviour.
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