The nature of affect attunement used by disability support workers interacting with adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities

S. Forster, T. Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The interactions experienced by adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) with their disability support workers (DSWs) may have a large impact on life quality. However, defining good-quality interaction has presented challenges for this group. It has been suggested that in typically developing infant-mother dyads, the presence of affect attunement may be an indicator of quality. Affect attunement refers to the recasting of one person's affect by another with emphasis. Method: The presence and nature of affect attunement in interactions between 21 pairs of adults with PIMD and their DSWs were explored in this study. Natural interactions were videorecorded for 21 pairs of adults with PIMD and their DSWs. The recordings were analysed for the presence and nature of affect attunement incidents, and analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: Affect attunement incidents were observed in 16 of the pairs. The DSW's attunement behaviour was in response to subtle, short duration behaviours of participants with PIMD. Conclusion: These brief moments of connection may be a basis of good-quality interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1120
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Volume58
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Affect attunement
  • Disability support workers
  • Interaction
  • Profound intellectual and multiple disabilities

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