Supported employment: a route to social networks

Rachel Forrester-Jones, Samantha Jones, Sophie Heason, Michele Di'Terlizzi

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

50 Citations (SciVal)


Evidence suggests that social networks mediate social functioning, self-esteem, mental health and quality of life. This paper presents findings concerning changes in the social lives, skills, behaviour and life experiences of a group of people with intellectual disabilities (n = 18), who gained support from an employment agency to find paid work.

The composition and quality of individuals' social networks were mapped using a Social Network Guide. Changes in skills, behaviour and life experiences were assessed using standardized measures.

The social network size of participants increased over time, with most social contacts being drawn from community contexts. This linked to improvements in life experiences, particularly in relation to leisure activities. Some improvements in adaptive behaviour were also found over time but no significant relationship between social network size and changes in adaptive behaviour were evident.

Whilst work will not guarantee social relationships, it can help maintain network size and provides a good opportunity for people with intellectual disabilities to meet others who are not associated with intellectual disability services.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Specialist publicationJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2004


  • Intellectual disability
  • Social network
  • Supported employment


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