Dealing with social threat: Examining behavioural responses to anxiety-provoking situations for young adults with mild intellectual disability

Simpson, Eleanor Jane (2014) Dealing with social threat: Examining behavioural responses to anxiety-provoking situations for young adults with mild intellectual disability. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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People with intellectual disabilities (ID) may respond differently to social stressors due to differences in social conditioning and acquisition of skills. The present study examined whether social worries are more salient for young people ID than their non disabled peers, and whether there are differences in their responses to socially stressful situations.
Forty-one participants aged 16 to 22 took part in this study; 20 typically developing young adults and 21 with mild ID were recruited through local further education colleges. The groups participated in an open-ended ‘worry’ interview where they described their worries and rated them in terms of salience. They were then asked how they would cope in a series of 6 ‘social threat’ scenarios, using pictorial vignette stimuli. Responses for worries and coping were content analysed and categorised.
It was found that there were some differences between the groups in terms of content of worries reported, with the ID group reporting more worries about maintaining friendships
and being bullied, whereas the non-ID group worried more about future aspirations and gaining independence. In terms of coping styles, the control group endorsed more
sophisticated responses involving management of social and emotional presentation, but overall coping between the groups was broadly similar. Finally, both groups reported a high rate of ‘emotion-focussed’ responding in response to situations involving risk of social rejection, and this appears to reflect that these situations may be particularly stressful for both groups.
This study contributes to the literature on transition and social coping for those with ID, and in particular adds weight to the idea that young adults with ID have a different profile of worries at this life stage, but this does not appear to impair social coping, and those with ID
possess a variety of strategies to utilise in situations of social stress, although these strategies may be less sophisticated at times than non-disabled peers.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: intellectual disabilities, young adults, worries, social coping, transition, stress.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: Jahoda, Professor Andrew
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Ms Eleanor J Simpson
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5047
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2014 07:56
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014 08:47

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