Dating Agencies for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities,

Michelle McCarthy, Claire Bates, Rachel Forrester-Jones, K.L. Skillman, Nicola Elson

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Introduction: Specialist dating agencies for people with intellectualdisabilities aim to help adults with intellectual disabilities overcome someof the barriers they face in meeting potential partners. However, little is known about the models and outcomes of these services and this research aimed to bridge that gap in our knowledge.

Methods: We conducted semi- structured interviews with the staff/managers of 10 specialist dating agencies across England. asked about their motivations for setting up the agency, how they work, the challenges they face and their success or otherwise in matching people with intellectual disabilities with suitable dates.

Results: The main challenges faced by dating agencies were a genderimbalance of clients and the negative, often infantilising, attitudes of staffand family carers regarding efforts to promote relationships. There were, however, some successes and long term relationships between adults with intellectual disabilities did result from the dating agencies.

Implications: Failure to provide support with relationships leavespeople at risk of social isolation and loneliness, which are known to have anegative impact on mental and physical well-being. Dating agencies areone way to try to assist people with intellectual disabilities in thisimportant area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-879
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019
EventInternational Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSID) World Congress, Glasgow, UK 6-9 Aug 2019: IASSID Future4All - Scottish Event Campus (SEC) Glasgow, Glasgow, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Aug 20199 Aug 2019


  • Relationships
  • Dating
  • Adults
  • Support


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