Sexual abuse victim empowerment programme: An archival study assessing the relationship between adaptive functioning and severity of intellectual disability in a group of intellectually disabled victims of sexual abuse
The nosology and the criteria for intellectual disability (mental retardation) have been commonly accepted to include significantly sub average general intellectual functioning (having an IQ of 70 or less) and impairment in adaptive functioning manifested before the age of 18 years. The assessment of intellectual functioning as the primary criterion has been well-documented with the use of individual scales reporting good psychometric properties. However, adaptive functioning has mostly been assessed via clinical interviewing, observation and collateral interviews with significant others. Adaptive capabilities within the intellectually disabled have received less attention. The Vinelands maturity scale, an objective measure of adaptive functioning, has been used widely with good effect in diagnosis. The interaction between the severity of intellectual disability and adaptive functioning has been described for the purposes of categorization. However, attempts at providing empirical support for the differential profile have been lacking.
This article reports on an archival study that aimed to examine the relationship between severity of intellectual disability and adaptive behavior. This study used verbatim protocols that formed part of a psycho-legal assessment in the SAVE programme assisting intellectually disabled victims of sexual abuse. Significant differences in adaptive functioning domains among groups of mild, moderate and severely intellectually disabled participants were tested for empirically.
Null findings were reported for all domains, except socialization, based on chronological age. However, significant differences were reported on all domains when using adaptive functioning scores based on test-age equivalents. In short, chronological age is not useful as a criterion when
assessing adaptive functioning relative to the level of intellectual disability. A differential capability profile relative to the level of intellectual disability was empirically supported using test-age equivalents.
The empirical evidence here can be useful to augment the findings of IQ testing, that can be flawed and subject to extraneous variables, when determining whether a diagnosis of intellectual disability is indicated.
America Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and
statistical manual of mental disorders fourth edition, text revision. Arlington: American Psychiatric Association.
Ahlgrim-Delzell, L., & Dudley, J.R. (2001). Confirmed, unconfirmed, and false allegations of abuse made by adults with mental retardation who are members of a class action lawsuit. Child Abuse and Neglect, 25(8),1121-1132.
Balogh, R., Bretherton, K., Whibley, S., Berney, T., Graham, S., Richold, P., Worsely, C., & Firth, H. (2001). Sexual abuse in children and adolescents with intellectual disability. Journal of
intellectual Disability Research, 45(3), 194-201.
Bolte, S. & Poutska, F. (2002). The relationship between General Cognitive level and Adaptive Behaviour domains in Individuals with Autism with and without co-morbid Mental retardation. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 33(2), 165-172.
Brantley, D. (1988). Understanding mental retardation - a guide for social workers. Illinois: Charles C Thomas Publisher.
Burack, J.A., Hodapp, R.M., & Zigler, E. (1998). Handbook of mental retardation and development. United States of America: Cambridge University Press.
De Bildt , A., Kraijer, D., Sytema, S. & Minderaa, R. (2005). The Psychometric properties of the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales in Children and Adolescents with Mental Retardation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 55(1)
Drew, C.J., Logan, D.R., Hardman, M.L. (1990). Mental retardation: A life cycle approach (4th edition). Singapore: Merrill.
Frankfort-Nachmias, C. & Nachmias, D. (1992).
Research Methods in the Social Sciences (4th Ed). NY: St. Martin's Press
Furey, E.M. (1994). Sexual abuse of adults with mental retardation: who and where. Mental retardation, 32,173-180.
Hersen, M., McGonigle, J.J., & Lubetsky, M.J. (1989). Abuse and neglect in psychiatrically hospitalized multihandicapped children. Child Abuse and neglect, 13(3), 335-343.
Isler, A., Tas, F., Beytut D., Conk, Z. (2009). Sexuality in Adolescents with intellectual disabilities. Turkey: Springer Science and Business Media.
Lemeshow, S. (1982). The handbook of clinical types in mental retardation. USA: Allyn and Bacon Inc.
Markusic, M. (2010). The Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale and Special Needs Students. Retrieved February 16, 2010 from http://www.brightbulb.com/education/special/articles/1
Morano, J.P. (2001). Sexual abuse of the mentally retarded patient: medical and legal analysis for the primary care physician. Primary Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2001;3:126-135).
Pillay, A.L., & Sargent, C. (2000). Psycho-legal issues affecting rape survivors with mental retardation. South African Journal of psychology, 30(3), 426-438.
Sadock, B.J., & Sadock, V.A. (2003). Synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioural sciences/clinical psychiatry (9th ed.). United States of America: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.