Stewart L. Einfeld
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2011
Online Publication Date:May 2011
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511861178.002
Subjects: Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology
We have defined challenging behaviour as culturally abnormal behaviour of such an intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour that is likely to seriously limit use of, or result in the person being denied access to, ordinary community facilities (Emerson, 1995). This amendment to an earlier definition (Emerson et al., 1988) made explicit the importance of social and cultural expectations and norms in defining behaviour as challenging.
Challenging behaviour is a social construction. Whether a behaviour is defined as challenging in a particular context will be dependent upon such factors as:
Behaviour in social settings is, at least in part, governed by implicit and explicit rules and expectations regarding what constitute appropriate conduct. The more formal the setting, the more explicit the rules. Indeed, context is essential in giving meaning to any behaviour. Behaviour can only be defined as challenging in particular contexts. For example, loud shouting and the use of ‘offensive’ language are likely to be tolerated (if not actually condoned) in restaurant kitchens and at football (soccer) matches.