Hastings, R.P. and Remington, B.
Rules of engagement: toward an analysis of staff responses to challenging behavior.
Research in Developmental Disabilities, 15, (4), . (doi:10.1016/0891-4222(94)90008-6).
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Through observational analysis, the actions of care staff have frequently been identified as sources of socially mediated reinforcement capable of developing and maintaining challenging behavior. Accordingly, behavioral interventions have often sought to train care staff as behavioral change agents. As yet, however, there have been few attempts to conduct full functional analyses of the behavior of care staff working with people with mental retardation and challenging behaviors. We argue that although direct contingency-shaping of staff behavior has rightly been emphasized, it is possible that many aspects of staff conduct are under the indirect control of verbal formulations. If staff behavior is rule-governed (Skinner, 1969), a range of different sources of control must be considered in a complete analysis. Using this framework, we interpret existing literature on staff behavior and identify research strategies that will extend our understanding of why staff act as they do.
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