Emotional and behavioural needs of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities in an urban conurbation

J Intellect Disabil Res. 2005 Jan;49(Pt 1):16-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2005.00658.x.


Background: Over the past decade, increased attention has been paid to identifying and responding to the emotional and behavioural needs of children and adolescents with intellectual disability (ID). The aims of the present study were to add to this body of knowledge by identifying factors associated with emotional and behavioural needs among a sample of children with ID drawn from a large urban conurbation.

Method: Information was collected by postal questionnaire (or interview for family carers who did not have English as their first language) from teachers and from family carers of 615 children administratively identified as having ID (47% of all children with ID).

Results: Results indicated that: (1) the administrative prevalence of moderate but not severe ID was associated with social deprivation whereas the prevalence of severe but not moderate ID appeared to be associated with ethnicity; (2) 54% of children scored above the threshold on the Developmental Behaviour Checklist (DBC)-primary family carer, and 37% of children scored above the threshold on the DBC-teacher; (3) social deprivation, male gender, less severe ID and having fewer physical or sensory impairments were associated with antisocial and disruptive behaviour; and (4) more severe ID and additional impairments were associated with anxiety, communication disturbance, social relating and self-absorbed behaviours.

Conclusions: These results identify a range of risk factors associated with behavioural and emotional problems experienced by children with ID.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior* / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population*