Publication Details

Tustin, R. D., Pennington, B. & Byrne, M. (1994). Intrusiveness of interventions: ratings by psychologists. Behaviour Change, 11 (2), 94-100.


A survey was conducted of opinions of 24 psychologists in South Australia about the intrusiveness of 89 interventions including methods that might be used to reduce challenging behaviour. Interventions arose from a variety of sources, including behavioural psychology and medicine. Interventions might infringe on 8 different rights. Respondents rated the degree to which interventions were perceived to intrude on clients' rights, using a 4-point scale: abusive, very intrusive, intrusive, and not intrusive. A reasonable degree of consistency in ratings was found. Respondents did not rate all interventions that infringed on the same right as being equally intrusive. A number of interventions were rated as being intrusive but not abusive. Intrusive methods may be legitimate if properly authorised. The question arises of how decisions should be made to authorise intrusive methods when clients arc unable to make decisions on their own behalf.