ERIC Number: EJ886846
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
Attachment Behaviour towards Support Staff in Young People with Intellectual Disabilities: Associations with Challenging Behaviour
De Schipper, J. C.; Schuengel, C.
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, v54 n7 p584-596 Jul 2010
Background: Attachment research has shown the importance of attachment behaviour for the prevention of dysregulated behaviour due to emotional distress. The support of an attachment figure may be especially important for people with intellectual disability (ID), because they are less adept in dealing with stressful situations on their own. Our purpose was to examine the role of support staff as targets of attachment behaviour for young people with ID by testing the hypothesis that young people who more often engage in attachment interactions with group care staff are less at risk for challenging behaviours. The study design included professional caregivers' report of young persons' attachment behaviour across different relationships to address the relationship-specific nature of attachment behaviour in a group care context. Methods: Support staff rated attachment behaviour of 156 young participants with moderate to severe ID who were attending a group care setting. For each participant, we asked two members of the classroom support staff to fill out the Secure Base Safe Haven Observation list. One of them also rated challenging behaviour (Abberant Behavior Checklist). Results: Young people who showed more secure attachment behaviour towards professional caregivers were less irritable, less lethargic and less stereotypic in their behaviour, even if we controlled for developmental age and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Two results point in the direction of relationship-specific attachment behaviour: the absence of high consistency in a person's attachment behaviour towards two different caregivers and the independent contribution of each of these relationships to explaining differences in lethargy and stereotypies. A certain preference in attachment behaviour towards specific caregivers was not associated with challenging behaviour. Conclusions: Findings suggest that attachment behaviour may be part of young persons' adaptation to the stresses and challenges of group care. Furthermore, adaptation may be determined by the integration of relationships with support staff, because each relationship with a care staff member bears uniquely on challenging behaviour.
Descriptors: Mental Retardation, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Caregivers, Young Adults, Youth, Attachment Behavior, Behavior Problems, Stress Management, Role, At Risk Persons, Psychological Patterns, Check Lists
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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