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Resilience and professional quality of life in staff working with people with intellectual disabilities and offending behavior in community based and institutional settings

Erik Søndenaa, Christian Lauvrud, Marita Sandvik, Kåre Nonstad, Richard Whittington
  • Erik Søndenaa
    St. Olavs University Hospital, Forensic Department, Brøset, Trondheim; University College of Sør-Trøndelag, Department of Social Education, Trondheim, Norway | erik.sondenaa@ntnu.no
  • Christian Lauvrud
    St. Olavs University Hospital, Forensic Department, Brøset, Trondheim, Norway
  • Marita Sandvik
    St. Olavs University Hospital, Forensic Unit for Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities, Brøset, Trondheim, Norway
  • Kåre Nonstad
    St. Olavs University Hospital, Forensic Department, Brøset, Trondheim, Norway
  • Richard Whittington
    St. Olavs University Hospital, Forensic Department, Brøset, Trondheim, Norway; University of Liverpool, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, Health & Community Care Research Unit, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Abstract

Staff in forensic services for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are expected to deal with a wide range of emotional challenges when providing care. The potential impact of this demanding work has not been systematically explored previously. This article explores the professional quality of life (QoL) and the resilience (hardiness) of the staff in this setting. The Professional QoL questionnaire and the Disposional Resilience Scale were completed by staff (n=85, 80% response rate) in the Norwegian forensic service for ID offenders. Responses from staff working in institutional settings were compared to those from staff in local community services. Staff in the local community services had higher resilience scores compared to the staff in the institutional setting, (t=2.19; P<0.05). However in the other QoL and resilience domains there were no differences between the staff in the two settings. The greater sense of resilient control among community staff may be a function of both the number of service users they work with and the institutional demands they face. Even though these participants worked with relatively high risk clients, they did not report significantly impaired quality of life compared to other occupations.

Keywords

resilience, professional quality of life, health-care staff, intellectual disability, offenders

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Submitted: 2012-10-16 14:54:16
Published: 2013-01-23 10:32:25
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Copyright (c) 2013 Erik Søndenaa, Christian Lauvrud, Marita Sandvik, Kåre Nonstad, Richard Whittington

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