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Journal article

An anxious time? Exploring the nature of worries experienced by young people with a mild to moderate intellectual disability as they make the transition to adulthood

Authors:
FORTE Marisa, JAHODA Andrew, DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 50(4), November 2011, pp.398-411.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Transition to adulthood can be particularly challenging time for young people with mild intellectual disabilities (IDs) because they are often more socially marginalised, remain more dependent upon their family, and have fewer options for future careers than their typically developing peers. The aim of this study was to examine the content and salience of worries experienced by young people with mild ID during their transition to adulthood. The participants were 26 young people with mild ID and 26 typically developing young people all recruited from a Further Education college in the West of Scotland. The participants underwent a semi-structured interview about their worries and completed self-report assessments concerning anxiety and self-efficacy. The findings showed that that the ID group's most salient worries were largely different from their non-disabled peers at this stage of transition. The ID group worried about: being bullied; losing someone they are dependent upon; failing in life; and making and keeping friends. The non-disabled group worried about: getting a job; not having enough surplus money; failing; and having to make decisions about their future choices. Not only was there a difference in the nature of worries expressed, but the intellectually disabled group also reported ruminating significantly more about their worries and being more distressed by them.

Journal article

Vulnerability to depression in adolescents with intellectual disabilities

Authors:
KIDDLE Hannah, DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 5(1), January 2011, pp.3-8.
Publisher:
Emerald

This paper provides a selective review of developmental risk factors relating to depression in typically developing adolescents and considers how the life experiences and the social context of adolescents with intellectual disability may increase their sensitivity to identified risk factors for depression. A number of factors are highlighted as important in the development of mental health problems including attachment, child temperament and parenting behaviour, and a number of risk factors specific to depression, including genetic vulnerability, parental depression, negative life events and peer relations. Many of these experiences are particularly prevalent in the lives of young people with intellectual disabilities. These include experience of the social stigma attached to intellectual disability, increased exposure to negative life-events, social and emotion recognition deficits, and increased rates of parental stress and associated depression. These life experiences and consequent increased susceptibility to risk factors may help explain the higher rate of depression in adolescents with intellectual disability. The authors suggest that a consideration of developmental factors and their interaction with the person’s social environment may offer a possible framework for prevention and early intervention with adolescents with intellectual disabilities.

Journal article

Exploring the concept of alexithymia in the lives of people with learning disabilities

Authors:
MELLOR Karen, DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 9(3), September 2005, pp.229-239.
Publisher:
Sage
Place of publication:
London

Alexithymia is a construct that has attracted considerable research for people without learning disabilities. People with alexithymia have difficulties recognizing and describing emotions and have an externally oriented cognitive style. Alexithymia has been closely associated with a variety of mental health and somatic problems. However, the construct of alexithymia has not been considered in respect to people with learning disabilities. This article identifies parallels between the concept of alexithymia and the emotion recognition difficulties and external cognitive styles that have been identified in people with learning disabilities. The article further identifies that many developmental factors considered important in the aetiology of alexithymia are significantly present in the lives of people with learning disabilities and that the association between alexithymia and mental health identified in other populations may also be important for people with learning disabilities. We conclude that there is a strong argument that alexithymia should be a focus of further research for people with learning disabilities.

Journal article

Carers' responses to challenging behaviour: a comparison of responses to named and unnamed vignettes

Author:
DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25(1), January 2012, pp.88-94.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

In this study, 62 paid carers working in homes for people with intellectual disabilities reported their responses to vignettes illustrating challenging behaviour presented by an unknown person and the same behaviour presented by a named and known person. Questionnaires were used to gather information about the care workers' attributions, emotional responses, intended behavioural responses and behavioural knowledge. This article describes the background to the study, the methodology and measures used, and the results of data analysis. The results suggested that in general carers make more internal and global attributions and identify themselves as less optimistic in response to vignettes relating to named and known people with intellectual disabilities than those relating to unnamed people. The author discusses how the findings may contribute to understanding carer interaction with people with intellectual disabilities.

Journal article

Working for a change?

Authors:
JAHODA Andrew, BANKS Pauline, DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Learning Disability Today, 10(8), October 2010, pp.35-37.
Publisher:
Pavilion
Place of publication:
Hove

Supported employment is a common route to work for people with learning disabilities. In theory, it involves careful job assessment to match individual’s strengths and wishes to potential jobs. This article provides an overview of a study which examined the impact of moving into supported employment on the quality of life and emotional well-being of people with learning disabilities. The 49 participants were recruited from 24 supported employment schemes in Scotland. They worked between 3 and 38 hours a week, with an average of 16 hours. Their jobs were mainly entry level posts in retail, catering, office/administration, factory and domestic work. A number of self-report measures were completed to examine whether there were any changes to the participants’ mental health, social lives, and quality of life when they started work. In addition, the participants took part in 2 semi-structured interviews; the first when they started supported employment and the second 9 months later. The results of the self-report measures showed no changes of note at follow-up. However, the semi-structured interviews provided insight into the participants’ perceptions of work and how their views about employment changed. The article concludes that there was little evidence of people with learning disabilities in work experiencing increased social interaction either within or outside of the work setting. Struggles with work can also raise people’s awareness of the limits of their abilities.

Journal article

Psychological assessment with people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health

Author:
DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, 2(4), December 2008, pp.4-8.
Publisher:
Emerald

This paper considers the process of psychological assessment for people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health. The paper will describe a formulation-driven approach with reference to a social-cognitive model of mental ill-health in people with learning disabilities. This process is illustrated with a brief case study of an assessment within this model.

Journal article

IAPT practitioners’ experiences of providing therapy to people with intellectual disabilities

Authors:
SHANKLAND Jennifer, DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 9(4), 2015, pp.206-214.
Publisher:
Emerald

Purpose:The purpose of this paper is to describe the views and experiences of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) practitioners in providing therapy to patients who have an intellectual disability in order to support IAPT services in increasing their capability in this area. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was conducted of IAPT practitioners in four IAPT services in the north of England. The survey collected respondents demographic information and their experience, confidence and attitudes to working with people with intellectual disabilities. Qualitative responses regarding respondents attitudes, views of barriers, problems, successes and possible solutions to the delivery of therapy to people with intellectual disabilities within IAPT services were collected. The survey results were interpreted by thematic and statistical analysis. Findings: The majority of respondents report having worked with people with intellectual disabilities and identify the need to adapt therapy, but also believe that such therapy should be offered within mainstream services. Thematic analysis identifies the needs for support in training, therapy adaptation and adjustment to pathways. However, the majority of respondents could identify positive outcomes and experiences. Research limitations/implications: This data supports the further development of pathways and offers some broad frameworks for the focus of training and development work for people with intellectual disabilities within IAPT. Social implications: This project has identified a positive attitude and willingness to consider adaptation of therapy for people with intellectual disabilities in practitioners working within IAPT services. Originality/value: Until now the views and experiences of IAPT practitioners in working with this patient group were relatively unknown. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Talking about real-life events: an investigation into the ability of people with intellectual disabilities to make links between their beliefs and emotions within dialogue

Authors:
HEBBLETHWAITE Amy, JAHODA Andrew, DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 24(6), November 2011, pp.543-553.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

This study explored how adults with mild-moderate intellectual disabilities talk about emotive real-life experiences and whether they identify and make links between events, beliefs and emotions within their narratives. A cognitive-emotive interview was used to assist 19 adults with intellectual disabilities from the west of Scotland and 19 adults without disabilities to generate an account of an emotive, interpersonal event. Participants (mean age 42-43 years, 23 women in total) also completed a cognitive mediation task and an assessment of intellectual and verbal ability. Between-group analyses indicated that participants with intellectual disabilities scored significantly lower than those without disabilities on the cognitive-emotive interview and the cognitive mediation task. Participants with intellectual disabilities generated fewer beliefs within their dialogues and were less likely to provide alternative perspectives on events. Within-group comparisons showed no significant association between the ability to talk about events, beliefs and emotions within a dialogue and performance on a cognitive mediation task, or with Full Scale or Verbal IQ scores. The authors conclude that because participants with intellectual disabilities had more difficulties in talking about events, beliefs and emotions they are likely to require assistance to reflect on events and consider alternative interpretations, which take into account individual and environmental factors.

Journal article

Mothers of children who have an intellectual disability: their attributions, emotions and behavioural responses to their child’s challenging behaviour

Authors:
ARMSTRONG Heather, DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 24(5), September 2011, pp.459-467.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Weiner’s attribution model of motivation suggests that attributions about the causes of particular situations will influence an individual’s emotional and behavioural response to the situation. This paper examines the application of Weiner’s model to the responses of mothers to the challenging behaviour of their children who have an intellectual disability. It also examines whether, as suggested by Weiner’s model, anger mediates the effect of attribution of responsibility on likelihood of punishment as an intervention. The participants, 56 mothers of children with an intellectual disability, rated their attributions, assignment of responsibility and emotional and behavioural responses to 3 vignettes describing challenging behaviours. The findings showed that mothers rated their children as significantly more in control of, responsible for, and felt significantly more angry about aggressive behaviour than stereotypic behaviour. They were significantly more likely to punish aggressive behaviour than self-injurious or stereotypic behaviour. Regression analysis suggested that mothers who assign more responsibility to their child were more likely to consider punishing their child and that this relationship is mediated by anger. Implications for clinical work with parents of children who have an intellectual disability are discussed.

Journal article

Psychosocial intervention for people with learning disabilities

Author:
DAGNAN Dave
Journal article citation:
Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, 1(2), June 2007, pp.3-7.
Publisher:
Emerald

Psychosocial interventions are a core part of the service structures of mainstream mental health services. Research and clinical services for people with learning disabilities have often adopted a broadly psychosocial perspective. This article describes the structure of psychosocial intervention and then considers the evidence base that is available to develop this approach for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems.

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