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Who’s challenging who training for staff empathy towards adults with challenging behaviour: cluster randomised controlled trial [2018]

Background
One in five adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) known to services display challenging behaviours (CBs), and these individuals are at risk for restrictive practices and poor care. Staff attitudes may contribute to the development and/or maintenance of CBs. We investigated the effectiveness of co‐produced Who’s Challenging Who? training delivered by people with ID to staff.

Method
This study involved a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) of Who’s Challenging Who? training with follow‐up at six and 20 weeks post‐randomisation. Participants: two staff from each of 118 residential care settings for adults with ID at least one of whom displayed aggressive CB. Primary outcome: Self‐reported Staff Empathy for people with Challenging Behaviour Questionnaire. Analysis: intention to treat of all randomised settings. ISCRTN registration: ISRCTN53763600.

Results
118 residential settings (including 236 staff) were randomised to either receive training (59 settings) or to receive training after a delay (59 settings). The primary analysis included data from 121 staff in 76 settings (51% of staff, 64% of settings). The adjusted mean difference on the transformed (cubed) Staff Empathy for people with Challenging Behaviour Questionnaire score at the primary end point was 1073.2 (95% CI: ‐938.1 to 3084.5, P = 0.296) in favour of the intervention group (effect size Cohen’s d = .19).

Conclusions
This is the first large‐scale RCT of a co‐produced training course delivered by people with ID. Findings indicated a small positive (but statistically non‐significant) effect on increased staff empathy at 20 weeks, and small to moderate effects for staff reported secondary outcomes in favour of the intervention group.

R. P. Hastings D. Gillespie S. Flynn R. McNamara Z. Taylor R. Knight E. Randell L. Richards G. Moody A. Mitchell P. Przybylak B. Williams P. H. Hunt
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 23 July 2018

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