Conflicts and conflict management at Residential Homes for Adults and Young Persons with Developmental Disorders

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragForedrag og præsentationer i privat eller offentlig virksomhed


In the last years there has been increasing international attention to situations where young persons and adults with reduced cognitive and emotional capacity have been victims of abuse in residential homes. At the same time we know from several studies that staff in these institutions experience a great extent of psychosocial strain at work, including violence. It is important for residents and staff to find out how such outcomes can be avoided.

The aim of our study was to reach a better understanding of the mechanisms that may lead to conflicts and misunderstanding between residents and pedagogical staff. We paid special attention to communication and forms of social interaction in everyday situations, as well as to pedagogical practice and conflict management in local institutional settings.

Material and methods
Five residential homes for young persons and adults with developmental disorders were included in the study. The investigation was designed as an institutional ethnography including a mixed method design comprising field observations, focused individual and group interviews with staff members, and a questionnaire study to all frontline staff members.

Results and conclusion
The analysis of these data identified crucial results as regards the relationship between forms of interaction, professional paradigms, workload and conflicts. The analysis showed that professional staff members move along a narrow edge balancing constantly between the wellbeing and acceptance of individual clients on the one hand and the fear of escalating conflicts on the other. Concurrently, there are different cultural premises for debriefing and strategies for taking collective responsibility and actions preventing people from blaming themselves for all mistakes that might happen when on duty. Furthermore, there are very different models for organizing work and management of conflicts, and some of these seem to be counterproductive.
Periode12 aug. 2011
PlaceringReykjavik, IslandVis på kort


  • Arbejdsmiljø, Udviklingsforstyrrelse, Socialpædagogik