Carers’ experiences of being exposed to challenging behaviour in services for autism spectrum disorders
Rasa Butrimaviciute and Alan Grieve
Previous studies have demonstrated that being exposed to challenging behaviour in services of care can have a negative impact on staff. Recently, challenging behaviour has been linked to people with autism spectrum disorders; however, little research has been aimed at exploring staff’s experiences of facing such behaviour in services for autism spectrum disorders in particular. A qualitative study using interpretative phenomenological analysis was conducted. This method involves thorough exploration of experiences revealed by individuals. A purposive sample (N = 10) was used. Participants were involved in semi-structured interviews which were later analysed according to the guidelines by Smith and Osborn. Four themes were discovered: intense mental and physical engagement, importance of adaptive coping, ambiguous experience of failure and achievement and destructive emotional reactions. Being exposed to challenging behaviour in services for autism spectrum disorders is a complex multi-component experience. The present results allow some insight into personal worlds of staff and might be useful for improving their working environment as well as ensuring a higher quality of care for service users.