Evaluation of an Abuse Prevention Group for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

(01 Feb 2013)

Background: There are a number of potentially interacting factors that contribute to an increased vulnerability to abuse among individuals with an intellectual disability. Abuse prevention programmes to date have been subject to a number of methodological limitations.

Aims: The primary aim was to examine outcomes associated with a Behavioural Skills Training (BST) group intervention designed to reduce vulnerability to abuse, as compared to outcomes following a period of no intervention.

Method: Fifty-six adults, functioning in the range of mild or moderate intellectual disability, completed measures of assertiveness, empowerment, knowledge of abuse and self-protection skills. A cross-over design was employed whereby participants served as their own control group.

Results: Greater improvements in empowerment and self-protection skills were found for participants following completion of the intervention, as compared to a period of receiving no intervention.

Discussion: The findings suggest that a six week BST group may be effective in reducing vulnerability to abuse. Implications for theory and clinical practice are highlighted. 

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