University of Leicester
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Staff emotional reactions, self-efficacy and management of client aggression in a treatment and recovery service

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:45 authored by Phil. Charlesworth
The aim of the research was to explore the emotional reactions of nursing staff to patient aggression within a psychiatric setting. More specifically, it aimed to investigate a number of factors associated with staff emotional reactions, including their perceived self-efficacy in dealing with such behaviour. The study additionally aimed to investigate the association between the negative emotions experienced by nursing staff and the intended management of aggressive behaviour.;Method. Sixty-six staff working within a NHS Treatment and Recovery Service completed a self-report questionnaire. Participants rated their emotional reactions and perceived self-efficacy after reading a vignette of patient aggression directed towards them. Staff then rated how likely they would manage the incident of aggression. Finally, demographic, support and training information was elicited.;Results. Significant associations were found between staff emotional reactions and perceived self-efficacy. Associations were found between various dimensions of emotional reactions and experience and support variables. Regression analyses revealed that perceived self-efficacy was a negative predictor of the fear/anxiety dimension of negative emotional reactions. For the depression/anger dimension, perceived self-efficacy was a negative predictor and support from the team leader was a positive predictor. Perceived self-efficacy was associated with various experience variables and training in breakaway techniques. Correlational analysis highlighted that negative emotional reactions were linked to more punitive, firm and avoidant management strategies.;Conclusion. The results are consistent with much of the literature surrounding staff emotional reactions to challenging behaviour and are discussed in relation to previous research. Clinical implications of the research are explored, and it is concluded that different interventions are needed to address staff negative emotional reactions to patient aggression. Further, measures could be adopted to increase perceived self-efficacy and support. Directions for future research are suggested and final conclusions made.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Clinical Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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