Effects of a crisis training program on reported job stress and self efficacy of youth care workers managing seriously emotionally disturbed adolescents in placement

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Virginia Tech

Seriously emotionally disturbed adolescents in residential placement tend to act out aggressively. Such behavior often creates an atmosphere of intimidation and fear which contributes to the high stress, sense of incompetence, and frequent turn over of youth care staff. Formal training for these practitioners is limited in scope and availability. The training program, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) (Budlong I 1983) which was the focus of this study, was designed to train youth care workers to deal with aggressive youth. It was anticipated that the program would increase youth care workers perceived sense of competence and reduce their perceived level of job stress.

The Occupational Stress Inventory (OST) and the Correctional Institution Environment Scale (CIES) were used to measure reported perceptions of competence. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) was used to measure reported perceptions of job stress.

Fifty one subjects, from four residential centers, were randomly assigned to a training group, a training group with follow-up, or a control group. A four way ANOVA was used to analyze main effects and single interactive effects of the classification variables (i.e., age, educational attainment and experience) with training.

In general, the analysis provided the following conclusions: (1) Neither reported self efficacy nor reported job stress were significantly impacted by TCI Training; (2) Although younger participants receiving training without follow-up reported a greater sense of depersonalization (i.e., higher perceived stress) and a lower sense of competence in using supportive skills than their older counterparts, younger participants who received follow-up in addition to the training, reported a lower sense of depersonalization (i.e., lower perceived stress) and a higher sense of competence in using support skills than their older counterparts; (3) Older participants reported lower levels of depersonalization after receiving training. Implications for these findings are discussed.