Studies involving professional carers of people with mental health problems have investigated the relationship between burnout, job satisfaction, the coping strategies employed by carers, and expressed emotion (EE). We undertook a similar study involving carers of adults with intellectual disabilities detained within a secure hospital. Twenty-seven nursing staff completed a Five Minute Speech Sample regarding a keyworked client. EE was coded, and measures of coping strategies, burnout, attitudes to psychiatric treatment and job satisfaction were administered. Sixty-three percent of the sample were coded as having high EE. These subjects reported significantly higher levels of depersonalization and lower levels of personal accomplishment. They used coping strategies more frequently: specifically they reported trying to reorganize their work and to seek support from others. The results are discussed in light of the findings of previous studies. It is noted that the study was not causal and the sample size was small.