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Interpersonal relationships of older adults with an intellectual disability in Ireland

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Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Published online on


Background People with intellectual disability tend to have smaller social networks than other groups, with even those living in community‐based residences comparatively worse off. Materials and methods Analysis of data from the Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (IDS‐TILDA) (n = 701) examined measures of interpersonal relationships and interactions. Predictors of family contact and having non‐resident friends were also explored. Results Social networks of older people with intellectual disability differ considerably from the general older population, with a reliance on support staff and co‐resident friends in place of their own immediate family structures and wider friendships. Proximity to family most strongly predicted family contact. Residence in independent or family residences was most strongly linked to having non‐resident friends. Conclusions While family proximity and community living are associated with improved social networks and contacts, older people with intellectual disability remain worse off than the general older population.