An examination of the relationships between social skills, psychiatric comoribity and challenging behaviour in adults with moderate to severe learning disabilities

Title: An examination of the relationships between social skills, psychiatric comoribity and challenging behaviour in adults with moderate to severe learning disabilities

Authors: Deirdre Hayes, Olive Healy and Jill Pollard

Organisation: KARE - Behaviour Support Team

Keywords: Challenging behaviour, psychiatric co-morbidity, social skills, learning disability, problem behaviours, social skill defecit.

Published: Research in Developmental Disabilities (Under submission)

(01 Sep 2008)

Background Research has suggested that social skills deficits and psychiatric issues may be affected by the presence of maladaptive behaviours in people with intellectual disabilities.
Method A sample of 39 participants with intellectual disabilities were surveyed for the presence of psychiatric symptoms and social skills.
Results Outcomes indicated that individuals with severe challenging behaviours scored significantly higher than those without problem behaviours in terms of presence of psychiatric symptoms in ten of the thirteen subscales of the DASH-II (e.g. H = 6.19, 2 d.f., p = 0.05). Results also showed that people with severe problem behaviours scored significantly lower on social skills measures than those without (F (2, 36) =24.641, p = 0.000). An finally a significant difference was observed between participants presenting with psychiatric symptoms and those who did not in terms of social skills, with the former scoring significantly lower than the latter (F (1, 37) = 9.89, P = 0.001).
Conclusions Results of the study provide weight to current research supporting the relationships between problem behaviours, co-morbid psychopathology and social skill deficits. This information could be used to further develop positive supports for adults with ID and challenging behaviours in order to improve their quality of life, community inclusion and social networks
 



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