Social climate and aggression in IDD services [2019]

The purpose of this paper is to adapt a social climate measure for use within a forensic intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) service and examine perceptions of social climate and the links with patient aggression across three levels of security.

Four staff participated in a focus group to discuss how the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) could be adapted for IDD patients. Subsequently, a pilot study with three patients highlighted some difficulties in administering the adapted measure. Alterations in the administration of the measure were implemented with a further ten patients residing across three levels of security. The EssenCES was adapted to include more visual prompts to assist in the patients’ completion of the measure. The frequency of aggressive incidents in each of the three settings was also collated.

Statistical analysis revealed a non-significant trend where positive social climate ratings increased as the security level decreased. There was a significant difference in the frequency of aggressive incidents across the three levels of security; however, there were no significant relationships found between the questionnaire ratings and the frequency of incidents.

Research limitations/implications
The results lacked statistical power due to the low number of participants. Further studies with adapted social climate measures need to be conducted to assess the implications of social climate on individuals with IDD in secure forensic services.

The study adapted and piloted a social climate measure for individuals in a forensic IDD service.

Joanne Emma Robinson, Leam Craig
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 2019