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Keywords:

  • challenging behaviour;
  • intellectual disabilities;
  • staff;
  • stress management;
  • training

Background

Helping staff serving clients with intellectual disability and challenging behaviour to cope with stress has implications for their own well-being and for the lives of those they support.

Method

This study examined staff members' views of stress and the effectiveness of a stress-management intervention. Effectiveness was assessed using written assignments regarding stress management, and changes in views presented were tested in a pre- and post-test control group design.

Results

In the first phase, a content analysis was conducted across groups, which revealed that participants expressed a broad variety of views about stress and coping mechanisms, with considerable individual differences. In the second phase, a more fine-grained quantitative analysis was conducted to assess training effectiveness. Results showed an increase in the proportion of coping strategies referred to by the experimental group post-training. This positive change remained at follow-up.

Conclusions

The results of the content analysis and the outcome data have implications for staff training.