Support for love in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A thematic synthesis of the literature

Amy Randall, Rachel Forrester-Jones, Michelle McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Introduction: Most adults with IDD say that they would like to have aloving relationship yet adult social care rarely prioritises or facilitates this;resulting in emotional, psychological, social and sexual needs ofindividuals often being unmet. We carried out a thematic synthesis of the literature documenting support for relationships of adults with IDD by both paid staff and family carers.

Methods: The first two authors reviewed 81 articles which met theinclusion criteria. A final short list of articles were thematically analysed for the review.

Results: Finding and maintaining loving relationships is important topeople with IDD yet they are lacking adequate practical, emotional, orsocial support to realise this goal. Barriers to support include practicalissues such as staffing regimes, transport and housing arrangements aswell as taboos and embarrassment which prevents people with IDD andtheir carers talking openly about love and relationships. The role of paid carers in supporting love for people with IDD can be unclear and families often fear such relationships may be abusive.

Implications: These findings raise a challenge to overcome barriersand facilitate new ways for social care and family carers to support peoplewith IDD to form and maintain loving relationshi
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)848-848
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


  • Love
  • Quality of Life
  • Systematic Review
  • Support


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