Women with learning disabilities perceive little or no control over their lives


Whilst there has been an increasing interest in developing measures of quality of life for people with learning disabilities, there has been little research looking specifically at the experiences of women with learning disabilities aged 40 years or older.

This study set out to look at this specific group and to do this, worked with 55 women from Sydney, Australia, and Prague, Czech Republic,

The researchers completed a semi-structured interview with each participant and with grounded theory, indentified a series of themes common across all the women involved.

The single most important theme that emerged from the analysis of the transcripts was the perception of the women relating to lack of control over their lives.

The authors conclude from this small study that their findings reinforce previous results relating to lack of control and suggest that their results “further the call for people with intellectual disabilities to be provided the opportunity to participate in decisions about their life choices.”

Subjective Quality of Life of Women with Intellectual Disabilities: The Role of Perceived Control over their Own Life in Self-determined Behaviour, Strnadová, I. & Evans, D. in  Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25: 71–79.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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