Aim This paper reviews the evidence for changes in carers’ attributions regarding the behaviour of people with intellectual disabilities as a consequence of carer training in challenging and complex behaviour.
Method Papers were included in the review if they reported outcomes for carer training on the behaviour of people with intellectual disabilities and used a measure of carer attribution of the behaviour of people with intellectual disabilities. The characteristics of the scales used and the content and length of training are considered as possible factors affecting changes in attribution.
Results Eleven papers were reviewed, most studies using behavioural curricula for their training, and none explicitly set out to change attributions. Eight of the 11 papers reviewed reported changes in attribution although core characteristics of training did not distinguish those papers that reported such changes and those that did not.
Conclusions Changes in beliefs and attributions occur even though these are not identified as a focus within the training provided. The present authors suggest that the formulation processes involved in behavioural training may play a key part in changing attributions as a consequence of this training. The present authors discuss the potential for more focussed intervention designed to change attributions and for better alignment of measures to specific attribution change expected as a result of specific training approaches.