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Healthy lifestyle behaviours for people with intellectual disabilities: An exploration of organizational barriers and enablers

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Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Published online on


Background The health‐related behaviours of people with intellectual disabilities may be determined by organisational influences. This innovative study aimed to explore managers’ and staffs’ perspectives on organisational influences on the promotion of healthy behaviours for this population. Method A qualitative methodology was employed. Four focus groups with staff and eleven telephone interviews with managers were undertaken across three residential services in one region (Northern Ireland) of the UK. Transcripts were analysed thematically. Findings The organisations involved in this study did not have the cultural ethos or capacity to sustain consistent support for staff involvement in health promotion. Organisational support and outcome‐focused strategies are recommended for encouraging staff involvement in health promotion activities. Conclusion These findings have implications for some organisations that support people with intellectual disabilities in improving the way they facilitate health promotion. They highlight the need for organisational cultures to facilitate knowledge translation and embrace evidence‐based health promotion interventions.