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Outcomes of a 'Train the Trainers' approach to an acceptance based stress intervention in a specialist challenging behaviour service

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Background: The application of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) principles to occupational stress is a relatively recent development, and a pilot study by Noone and Hastings (2009) suggests it may be a helpful approach with staff in ID services. The aims of the present study were to replicate the workshop format developed by Noone and Hastings and to expand on this by training a group of 'ACT novices', recruited from the workforce, to deliver the training.

Method and materials: A total of 72 staff working in specialist challenging behaviour services participated in one of six workshops (consisting of a whole day and a half-day follow-up six weeks later) which were staggered over a six-month period. A range of measures were used at five time points (two baseline measures, one post-intervention measure and two follow-up measures) to evaluate the outcome of the intervention.

Results: There were significant improvements at different time points on the General Health Questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Depersonalisation sub scale); a number of sub scales on the Staff Stress Questionnaire and the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale. However, there were no significant changes in measures on Acceptance (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire); not, and Values (Support Staff Values Questionnaire), which are key ACT concepts.

Conclusions: The findings compare well to prior studies in the area, particularly when considered within the context of a train the trainers model. However, complete support for an ACT model was not demonstrated which provides opportunities for further research in the field.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Positive behavioural support (PBS) combines the conceptual framework of applied behaviour analysis with the values base of social role valorisation and framework of person-centred approaches. The International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support is a peer-reviewed publication that aims to:

    · define and promote good practice in relation to the use of PBS

    · add to the evidence base regarding such interventions

    · demonstrate how PBS interventions can support people to change their challenging behaviours, improve their quality of life, and result in reductions in the use of restrictive procedures (such as physical intervention, seclusion and as required medication)

    · bridge the gap between academic research and service practice
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