Is the amount of exposure to aggressive challenging behaviour related to staff work-related well-being in intellectual disability services? Evidence from a clustered research design [2018]

• There was little relationship between exposure to aggressive CB and staff well-being.

• Clustering was evident for emotional exhaustion and positive work motivation.

• Comparisons between staff who work in settings with and without aggressive CB are needed.

Previous research has demonstrated an association between aggressive challenging behaviour (CB) and reductions in work-related well-being for intellectual disability (ID) support staff. Much of this research has used subjective measures of CB.

To examine whether exposure to aggressive CB is associated with reduced work-related well-being in staff working in ID residential settings across the UK.

Methods and procedure
A cross-sectional analysis was undertaken as part of a randomised trial; 186 staff from 100 settings completed questionnaires on their CB self-efficacy, empathy, positive work motivation, and burnout. Objective measures of aggressive CB in the preceding 16 weeks were collected from each setting.

Outcomes and results
There was little association between staff exposure to aggressive CB and work-related well-being. Clustering effects were found for emotional exhaustion and positive work motivation, suggesting these variables are more likely to be influenced by the environment in which staff work.

Conclusions and implications
The level of clustering may be key to understanding how to support staff working in ID residential settings, and should be explored further. Longitudinal data, and studies including a comparison of staff working in ID services without aggressive CB exposure are needed to fully understand any association between aggressive CB and staff well-being.

Samantha Flynn, Richard P. Hastings, David Gillespie, Rachel McNamara, Elizabeth Randell

Research in Developmental Disabilities, Volume 81, October 2018