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Res Dev Disabil. 2008 Mar-Apr;29(2):176-87. Epub 2007 Mar 26.

How central and connected am I in my family? Family-based social capital of individuals with intellectual disability.

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Department of Sociology and Pavie Center, University of Geneva, Switzerland. <>


Using social network methods, this article explores the ways in which individuals with intellectual disability (ID) perceive their family contexts and the social capital that they provide. Based on a subsample of 24 individuals with ID, a subsample of 24 individuals with ID and psychiatric disorders, and a control sample of 24 pre-graduate and postgraduate students matched to the clinical respondents for age and sex, we found that family networks of clinical individuals are distinct both in terms of composition and in terms of social capital made available to them by their family ties. Individuals with ID perceive themselves as less central in their own family; their family networks are perceived as less dense, less centralized, and more disconnected. Individuals with intellectual disabilities and psychiatric disorders have less family-based social capital than individuals with intellectual disabilities only. The composition of their family is also distinct as spouses or partners and children are missing. We discuss the importance of those findings for research on family relationships of individuals with ID.

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