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Young People with Learning Disabilities Living in State Care: Their Emotional, Behavioural and Mental Health Status

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Young people with learning disabilities are significantly more at risk of developing mental health difficulties than their non-disabled peers, with prevalence rates of around 40% commonly reported. Nevertheless, high levels of mental health problems also exist among young people living in state care. However, few studies have examined the mental health of these young people with learning disabilities who also live away from home in state care. This paper examines the emotional, behavioural and mental health status of a group of young people with and without learning disabilities residing in state care. Data were collected from social worker reports and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire on these two cohorts who were living in state care for a minimum of one year. The young people with learning disabilities had a higher prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems and were also significantly more likely to score within the abnormal range of the Total Difficulties Score of the SDQ (77.1%) compared with their non-disabled peers (49.6%). There is a need for greater recognition of young peoplewith learning disabilities who live in state care in order to identify emotional, behavioural and mental health needs and to develop more appropriate and effective care plans/therapeutic interventions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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