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Staff who Work with People who have Intellectual Disabilities: The Importance of Personality

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Background 

Previous research into stress in staff who work with people with intellectual disabilities has concentrated on the organizational determinants of stress and has tended to overlook the relative contribution of individual differences. A model was proposed to describe possible relationships between work-based stressors, staff support, personality, coping strategy and psychological outcome. Methods 

A survey methodology was used with care staff in community-based homes for people with intellectual disability. Results 

Analysis of the model explored how these variables might affect one another in their relationship to psychological outcomes. The most significant findings of this research was the direct effects found between personality (neuroticism), coping style (wishful thinking) and stress. A significant interaction was also observed between job demands and neuroticism. Conclusions 

These research findings highlight the importance of personality factors in determining stress levels in staff and suggest several possible intervention strategies. One intervention point may be to teach self-management techniques to help some staff cope with periods of high demand, particularly those reporting high levels of neuroticism.
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Keywords: coping style; personality; psychological well-being; residential care; staff; stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Lecturer and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Dudley Priority Health NHS Trust and The University of Birmingham, School of Psychology, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK, 2: Clinical Psychologist, Llandough Children's Centre, Llandough Hospital, Penlan Road, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan CF64 2XX, UK and 3: Lecturer, The University of Birmingham, School of Psychology, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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