Evidence suggests there is a greater prevalence of mental ill-health in people with learning disabilities, although the extent of this difference varies from study to study. At present there has been little work enabling people with learning disabilities to recognise potential threats to their mental health and to help with the development of strategies to minimise these. Researchers at the Estia Centre however, have now been working on a guided self-help pack to be known as SAINT – Self Assessment and INTervention pack
In this study, as part of the development of this pack, the researchers were interested in looking specifically at differences in how symptoms relating to depression and anxiety were reported by males and females.
What they did was use three self report questionnaires -the Glasgow Depression Scale – Learning Disabilities (GDS-LD, the Glasgow Anxiety Scale – Intellectual Disabilities (GAS-ID) and Self-Assessment Intervention Package (SAINT). Each of these was administered to 36 people with mild learning disabilities which enabled them to compare symptom reporting between genders.
What they found was there were statistically significant differences in self-reported symptoms between males and females when they used the SAINT. The symptoms were related mainly to mood and self-esteem.
Self-reported depressive symptoms were between 2.7-3.2 times higher in female than male patients.
They conclude that this evidence suggests that the SAINT is a valid tool for screening and self-reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression in people with learning disabilities.
Estia Centre for mental health in learning disabilities –
Gender differences in self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety in adults with intellectual disabilities, Chester R et al., in Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 7,4, 191 – 200