British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 37 Issue 4 (November 1998), Pages 371-473

Learning disability care staffs emotional reactions to aggressive challenging behaviours: Development of a measurement tool (pages 441-449)

Objectives. To describe the development of a rating scale measure of caregivers' emotional reactions to aggressive challenging behaviour, and to report preliminary psychometric data for the scale.

Design. Using previous research on staff working with people with learning disabilities, a range of likely emotional reactions to challenging behaviours were selected for possible inclusion in a rating scale measure.

Methods. A total of 83 care staff from 23 community residences for people with learning disabilities rated their recent emotional reactions to aggressive challenging behaviour using 18 emotion items. A further sample of 18 care staff participated in a test–retest study after the initial stages of scale development.

Results. A rating scale was developed on the basis of a factor analysis and further item analysis. The measure has two subscales: feelings of depression/anger (10 items), and feelings of fear/anxiety (5 items). The subscales have a high internal consistency, good test–retest reliability and are relatively unaffected by social desirability biases.

Conclusions. The emotional reactions to aggressive challenging behaviour scale has excellent face and construct validity, and other preliminary psychometric data are promising. The scale has a number of potential research and clinical applications.

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