Loneliness and how to counter it: People with intellectual disability share their experiences and ideas

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 2023, 48, (1), pp. 58-70
Issue Date:
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Background: People with intellectual disability are at higher risk of experiencing social isolation in their everyday lives, because of exclusionary practices, discriminatory social policies and structural exclusion. However, less is known about what people with intellectual disability themselves think about loneliness in their lives and what might alleviate it. Method: In this inclusive research study, 17 people with intellectual disability participated in focus groups or individual interviews and talked about what makes them feel lonely and what helps them to feel included. Results: Our findings indicate that the domains of interaction, participation, personal security and attitudes are areas of strong influence on people’s experience of inclusion and exclusion and hold opportunities for positive change. Conclusions: Change at systems and community levels is needed to ensure people with intellectual disability are included, have access to disability-ready places that respect their human rights, listen, recognise and include their strategies to alleviate loneliness.
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