Incidence and predictors of mental ill-health in adults with intellectual disabilities

Elita Smiley, Sally-Ann Cooper, Janet Finlayson, Alison Jackson, Linda Allan, Andrew Williamson, Dipali Mantry, Catherine McGrother, Alex McConnachie, Jillian Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The point prevalence of mental ill-health among adults with intellectual disabilities is 40.9%, but its incidence is unknown.
Aims: To determine the incidence and possible predictors of mental ill-health.
Method: Prospective cohort study to measure mental ill-health in adults with mild to profound intellectual disabilities.
Results: Cohort retention was 70% (n=651). The 2-year incidence of mental ill-health was 16.3% (12.6% excluding problem behaviours, and 4.6% for problem behaviours) and the standardised incidence ratio was 1.87 (95% CI1.51–2.28). Factors related to incident mental ill-health have some similarities with those in the general population, but also important differences. Type of accommodation and support, previous mental ill-health, urinary incontinence, not having impaired mobility, more severe intellectual disabilities, adult abuse, parental divorce in childhood and preceding life events predicted incident ill-health; however, deprivation, other childhood abuse or adversity, daytime occupation, and marital and smoking status did not.
Conclusions: This is a first step towards intervention trials, and identifying subpopulations for more proactive measures. Public health strategy and policy that is appropriate for this population should be developed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-319
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


  • Intellectual disabilities
  • health surveys
  • Psychiatric assessment


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