Although challenging behaviors have been identified as a source of staff stress, few researchers have directly addressed this relationship. In the present study, 55 teachers and support staff in special schools for children with mental retardation completed questionnaires assessing burnout, coping strategies for challenging behavior, and their exposure to challenging behavior. Results showed that (a) use of maladaptive coping strategies for challenging behaviors constitutes a risk for staff burnout, (b) this risk is in addition to that associated with exposure to challenging behavior, and (c) use of maladaptive coping strategies moderated the impact of exposure to challenging behaviors on emotional exhaustion burnout. Implications for future research and for the support of staff working with individuals who have challenging behaviors are discussed.
Editor in charge: Edwin Helmstetter