University of Leicester
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Staff attributions and management of violent incidents in hostels for homeless people.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:57 authored by Sara. Meddings
Staff often have to deal with, explain and manage violent incidents in direct access hostels for homeless people. It may be hypothesised that staff's attributions and preferred management strategies would vary according to their attitudes and whether they believed the violent person had schizophrenia. The present study examines the attributions and preferred management strategies of 59 hostel workers in response to a hypothetical vignette of a violent incident. Half of the participants were told that the individual described had schizophrenia. Agreement with attributional statements was assessed using Likert scales, and later grouped according to the internal temporary, internal enduring and external dimensions. Management strategies were grouped as punitive, talking/caring and medical. Attitudes towards homeless people and people with schizophrenia were assessed using social distance scales and the Public Attitudes Towards Homelessness Scale. The Just World Scale was also administered. Staff reported internal temporary, internal enduring and external attributions for the incident. The results indicated that staff made fewer internal enduring attributions about the behaviour of a homeless person with schizophrenia than a homeless person without a diagnosis, otherwise, they made quite similar attributions. Staff rated psychiatric strategies as more useful in managing the behaviour of a person with schizophrenia. Staff were found to have positive attitudes towards homeless people and people with schizophrenia. External attributions, positive attitudes and talking/caring management strategies were associated. The findings are discussed in the context of theories of attribution, balance and helping behaviour. They are also compared with other studies of attributions, attitudes and violence. The clinical implications of the current study are explored. Finally, directions for future research are suggested.


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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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