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The association of life events and mental ill health in older adults with intellectual disability: results of the wave 3 Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing



The association of life events and mental ill health in older adults with intellectual disability: results of the wave 3 Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing



Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 63(5): 454-465



Exposures to life events are associated with emotional, psychological and behavioural problems in those with intellectual disability (ID). Older adults with ID may experience different life events given differences in living circumstances, cognitive decline, greater dependency on others and less autonomy. This study examines the relationship of life events and mental ill health in an older ID population in Ireland. The study was part of 'The Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing'. The frequency of life events was assessed using a 20-item checklist, and the level of stress experienced was assessed using a three-point Likert scale measuring the burden of the life event. The associations of life events with factors associated with mental ill health were measured using a variety of self-report and proxy completed questionnaires. For the study population, 88.1% had been exposed to at least one life event in the preceding 12 months and 64.5% to two or more life events. Frequency and burden of life events were significantly higher in individuals living in institutional settings and in individuals with any current psychiatric condition, increased depressive and anxiety symptoms, challenging behaviour and reported poorer self-rated mental and physical health. More life events were significantly associated with new psychiatric diagnoses as well as initiation and increased dosage of mood stabilising, hypnotic and sedative medications. Life events are significantly associated with mental ill health in the older ID population. Service providers must focus on limiting the exposure to these events and, in situations where they cannot be avoided, should support and manage individuals compassionately and effectively, prioritising their mental and physical well-being.

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Accession: 066137100

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30697858

DOI: 10.1111/jir.12595


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