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J Intellect Disabil Res. 2014 Nov;58(11):1032-44. doi: 10.1111/jir.12080. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

Intellectual disability and co-occurring mental health and physical disorders in aggressive behaviour.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada; Douglas Mental Health University Institute Research Centre, Montréal, Québec, Canada.



Mental and physical health problems are more prevalent among individuals with an intellectual disability (ID) than in the general population. Studies suggest that there may be significant associations between these co-occurring disorders and aggressive behaviour, but few studies have taken into account multiple mental and physical problems, as well as their level of severity.


The main goal of this study was to identify the associations between different types of aggressive behaviour and various types of physical and mental health problems.


These associations were explored through a cross-sectional study of 296 adult men and women with mild or moderate ID living in the community and receiving ID services. Information was gathered through interviews with ID participants, case managers and file review.


The results show that individuals with ID who have more mental and physical health problems have higher odds of displaying aggressive behaviour than those with fewer and less severe physical health problems.


These results can help guide future prevention and intervention strategies for persons with ID who display aggressive behaviour or who are at risk of become aggressive.

© 2013 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


aggressive behaviour; challenging behaviour; co-occurring disorders; intellectual disabilities; mental health; physical health

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