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Disabil Rehabil. 2006 Aug 15;28(15):915-28.

A multi-dimensional approach to the transition of children with developmental disabilities into young adulthood: the acquisition of adult social roles.

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Developmental Disabilities Team, National Center on Births Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.



To test the hypothesis that the difficulties young adults with developmental disabilities have in obtaining adult social roles are not inevitable consequences of their childhood impairment. We used the conceptual framework of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health to test this hypothesis.


We used a structured questionnaire to obtain information on the consequences of childhood impairment in young adulthood and to examine the relationship between impairment and acquisition of adult social roles. The sample (n = 635) came from the Metropolitan Atlanta Developmental Disabilities Follow-up Study of Young Adults, a population-based cohort of young adults aged 21 - 25 years identified at age 10 with childhood impairment.


The results suggest that: (i) attaining adult social roles varies by impairment type and severity, (ii) experiencing activity limitations partially mediate the relationship between impairment and adult social roles, and (iii) attending postsecondary education increases the likelihood of attaining markers of adulthood.


Intervention to reduce activity limitations and to develop strategies to increase attendance in postsecondary education may increase the likelihood for the acquisition of adult social roles among young adults with childhood impairment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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