Alyse Catherine Donovan, Psy.D., is a 2017 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Martha Straus, PhD, Committee Chair
  • David Hamolsky, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Daniel Lambert, PhD, Committee Member


adult psychiatric inpatient, aggression, behavior plans, behavioral interventions

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When adults hospitalized within inpatient psychiatric settings engage in aggressive behavior, it can have detrimental psychological and physical effects on not only other patients, but on hospital employees. Several adult psychiatric inpatient facilities have successfully reduced rates of patient aggression through the implementation of behavioral interventions. While there is much research on factors that lead to successful implementation of evidence based interventions, the literature had not yet explored the subjective experience of employees who are asked to implement behavioral plans in adult psychiatric settings. This study utilized Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to gain an understanding of employees’ perceptions of barriers and facilitators to implementation of behavioral plans that target patient aggression. Participants were employees within maximum and intermediate security units within a forensic state psychiatric hospital. The results express the behavioral plan implementation needs for the studied treatment program. These needs include: (a) an increase in communication between all disciplines involved with behavioral plan implementation; (b) an increase in the number of floor staff members and consistent unit assignments; (c) more direct involvement from behavioral technicians; (d) more
nurses trained on behavioral interventions, (e) an increase in direct involvement of authors of behavioral plans and behavioral technicians with floor staff members and patients; (f) designated time for staff to complete various implementation tasks; (g) required behavioral theory competency standards for case managers before behavioral plan authorship is allowed; (h) continued trainings on behavioral theory and practice for all staff; (i) a formal data collections system to measure patient behaviors over time; and (j) a formal data collection system to determine staff fidelity to behavioral plan implementation.


Alyse Catherine Donovan

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-2669-9425