Despite the existence of effective behavioral interventions for people diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI), these continue to be underutilized. Barriers to implementation include a low frequency of staff-patient interactions, as well as a lack of knowledge about, and negative attitudes toward, behavioral interventions. Therefore, we examined the effects of a mandatory behavioral staff-training program on staff-patient interactions on a long-term psychiatric inpatient program for individuals with SMI. Staff-training consisted of two-phases: didactic training followed by a written exam, and in vivo training and assessment. From pre-to posttraining, all staff demonstrated increased positive and therapeutic behaviors and decreased negative behaviors when interacting with patients. Additionally, at baseline, nonmedical staff (psychologists, social workers) displayed significantly more therapeutic and fewer negative behaviors compared with medical staff (psychiatrists, nurses, mental health workers), and this pattern persisted at posttraining despite improvements in both groups. Importantly, completion of the staff-training program was associated with improvements in patient behavior. Although both written and in vivo test scores significantly predicted change in negative staff behaviors toward patients, the in vivo test performance increased predictive ability over and above that of written test performance. Staff who disagreed with behavioral management principles displayed less improvement in negative behaviors from pre-to postassessment. These data have implications for clarifying staff training needs in programs for chronically ill people with SMI.
- Psychiatric rehabilitation
- Staff training
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychology (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health