Young people with learning disabilities living in state care: their emotional, behavioural and mental health status

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Abstract

Young people with learning disabilities are significantly more at risk of developingmental health difficulties than their non-disabled peers, with prevalence rates of around40% commonly reported. Nevertheless, high levels of mental health problems also existamong young people living in state care. However, few studies have examined the mentalhealth of these young people with learning disabilities who also live away from home instate care. This paper examines the emotional, behavioural and mental health status of agroup of young people with and without learning disabilities residing in state care. Datawere collected from social worker reports and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaireon these two cohorts who were living in state care for a minimum of one year.The young people with learning disabilities had a higher prevalence of emotional andbehavioural problems and were also significantly more likely to score within theabnormal range of the Total Difficulties Score of the SDQ (77.1%) compared with theirnon-disabled peers (49.6%). There is a need for greater recognition of young people withlearning disabilities who live in state care in order to identify emotional, behavioural andmental health needs and to develop more appropriate and effective care plans/therapeutic interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-416
JournalChild Care in Practice
Volume13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

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