Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Sarah Dunphy-Lelii

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The condition of intellectual disability (ID) has always been of particular personal and clinical interest to me. My awareness of the social stigma that follows those individuals who are underserved in clinical as well as social settings, elicited my curiosity to research the subject of affective disorders in intellectual disabilities. The disorder of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) retained my interest due to the peculiar discrepancy between the high susceptibility of individuals with ID to PTSD, and the low prevalence of the disorder in this population.

PTSD is most often preceded by traumatic events in the nature of physical abuse, interpersonal victimization or a natural disaster causing a near-death experience. Individuals with an intellectual disability have been found to be more prone to experience such traumatic events as well as having a low level or resilience and protective factors against PTSD (McCarthy, 2001). Therefore, the problem of unrecognized affective disorders in ID, and specifically PTSD, is because of the diagnostic process used with this population.

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