Systematic Reviews of the Health or Health care of People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Systematic Review to Identify Gaps in the Evidence Base

J Appl Res Intellect Disabil. 2015 Nov;28(6):455-523. doi: 10.1111/jar.12149. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


Background: Systematic reviews are important in evaluating evidence concerning the health of people with intellectual disabilities. This study conducts a systematic review to identify strengths and gaps in this evidence.

Method: Electronic literature searches and email requests identified systematic reviews published in English from 2008 to 2013 on the health or health care of people with intellectual disabilities. Reviews were categorized using ICD-10 chapter headings and information extracted regarding methods, number of studies reviewed and findings.

Results: Ninety-four reviews were identified: 52 related to ICD-10 Chapter V: Mental or behavioural disorders, 28 to Chapter XXI: Factors influencing health status and contact with services, and 14 related to other chapters or encompassed multiple chapters. Nine reviews were 'empty'. No reviews were found for many ICD-10 chapter headings.

Conclusions: Systematic reviews are heavily weighted towards mental health, with little coverage of several areas important to the health and mortality of people with intellectual disabilities.

Keywords: health; intellectual disability; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Health Status*
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / rehabilitation*