Depression and anxiety symptoms during the transition to early adulthood for people with intellectual disabilities
Kristie Austin completed her Master in Clinical Psychology at the University of Newcastle back in 2015. Sometimes publications of data can take a long time but finally, we have published the findings in the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.
The study explored the transition to adulthood is a major developmental milestone; a time of self-discovery and increased independence. For young adults (YA) with intellectual disabilities (ID), however, this period is especially challenging. The increased incidence of mental health disorders in this population, such as depression and anxiety, make this transition even more difficult, increasing caregiver burden at a time when the young adult would traditionally be gaining independence. It is not clear, however, why YA with ID are more susceptible and what factors may predict mental health symptoms.
The study found that the level of insight young people had was the strongest predictor of anxiety (with gender in the controls), with increased insight predicting fewer anxiety symptoms. However, YA with ID had significantly less insight than their aged-matched counterparts and significantly higher levels of anxiety. They were also less likely to have achieved traditional adulthood milestones. Maladaptive coping was the strongest predictor of depression for YA with ID. In comparison, both maladaptive coping and insight predicted depression in controls. More maladaptive coping predicted increased depressive symptoms in both populations, whilst increased insight predicted fewer depressive symptoms in controls.
Therefore, insight and maladaptive coping are potential targets in the treatment of anxiety and depression among YA with ID. Longitudinal intervention studies exploring the efficacy of such targeted programmes in reducing mental health symptoms and improving the transition to adulthood for these young people are recommended.
To read the full paper, click on the link below;
Austin, K. L., et al. "Depression and anxiety symptoms during the transition to early adulthood for people with intellectual disabilities." Journal of Intellectual Disability Research (2018).
Hi, I am Dr Linda Campbell. I am an Academic and a Clinical Psychologist. This blog is meant to keep you in the loop about the activities of of our research lab - the FIND Lab.