The perceptions of staff about challenging behaviour may be a key factor in designing successful behavioural interventions. There is a lack of robust psychometric instruments designed to assess staff attributions towards incidents of challenging behaviour. The aim of this research was to develop a scale based upon the self-regulation theory of illness behaviour. Two staff focus groups identified and clarified relevant constructs to be included in the Challenging Behaviour Perception Questionnaire (CBPQ), which was then completed by 51 staff. Some correlations between the CBPQ and the Attributional Style Questionnaire were found. A significant amount of the variance in the perception of challenging behaviour was explained by the subscales of the new questionnaire. In particular, episodic timeline would seem to be a promising area for further investigation.