Trauma experiences of people with an intellectual disability and their implications: A scoping review

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Background: People with an intellectual disability are more vulnerable to psychological trauma compared to the general population. The aim of this scoping review is to identify the current status of the literature on trauma that is specific to the experiences of adults with an intellectual disability, living in community settings.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted using the Arksey and O’Malley (2005) framework. Forty-one international papers were reviewed spanning 2000-2020, and their quality assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.

Findings: (1) aggressive behaviours can be symptoms of trauma, (2) there are appropriate assessment tools for the impact of trauma, (3) evidence-based interventions for trauma may be effective and, (4) that factors associated with disability can be experienced as traumatic .

Conclusion: There is a growing body of literature highlighting assessment needs and potential interventions for people with an intellectual disability who have experienced psychological trauma. Further research is needed to develop trauma informed pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-949
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number4
Early online date26 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2021


  • intellectual disability
  • trauma
  • trauma informed care
  • post traumatic stress disorder
  • trauma intervention


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