Intellectual Disabilities & Coexisting Mental Health Conditions

Research Paper Title

Developmental stages and estimated prevalence of coexisting mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions and service use in youth with intellectual disabilities, 2011-2012.

Background

Few studies exist on mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions and service use among youth with intellectual disabilities (IDs), which makes it difficult to develop interventions for this population.

The objective of the study is to

  1. Estimate and compare the prevalence of mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions in youth with and without ID across three developmental stages; and
  2. Estimate and compare mental health service use in youth with and without ID across three developmental stages.

Methods

The researchers conducted secondary data analysis using cross-sectional data collected from caregivers completing the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health.

The data set represents a nationally representative sample of youth (0-17 years) in the USA with one child from each household being randomly selected.

Data were collected from caregivers in 50 states, Washington D.C. and the US Virgin Islands.

The researchers restricted the sample to parents of youth between 3-17 years (N = 81 510).

Results

Compared with youth without ID, youth ages 3-17 with ID had a statistically significantly higher prevalence of (1) mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions and (2) mental health care use and medication use for mental health and neurodevelopmental issues (other than attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Clinically significant differences in coexisting conditions and service use were also found across developmental stages.

Conclusions

Youth with ID are at greater risk of having coexisting mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions than youth without ID and are more likely to receive treatment.

Therefore, clinicians should consider mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions and the unique needs of youth by developmental stage when tailoring interventions for youth with ID.

Reference

Comer-HaGans, D., Weller, B.E., Story, C. & Holton, J. (2020) Developmental stages and estimated prevalence of coexisting mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions and service use in youth with intellectual disabilities, 2011-2012. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. 64(3), pp.185-196. doi: 10.1111/jir.12708. Epub 2020 Jan 1.

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