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Social anxiety and parental overprotection in young adults with and without intellectual disabilities

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Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Published online on


Objectives Developmental literature highlights peer relationships and parental overprotection as factors implicated in the development of social anxiety. These factors are highly prevalent in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities; however research has not examined whether these factors are associated with social anxiety for this population. Methods Twenty‐one individuals without intellectual disabilities and 21 individuals with intellectual disabilities (aged 16–24 years) completed the Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents with follow‐up questions, the Glasgow Anxiety Scale‐Intellectual disabilities and the parental overprotection subscale of the Parental Bonding Instrument with follow‐up questions. Results Aspects of general and social anxiety were significantly greater in the intellectual disabilities group. There were no significant differences in parental overprotection between groups, however, qualitative analyses revealed differences in experiences of social anxiety and parental overprotection. Conclusions Further research into factors associated with social anxiety in people with intellectual disabilities may inform adaptations to therapies and early intervention.