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Life Story Narratives of Adults with Intellectual Disability and Mental Health Problems: Personal Identity, Quality of Life and Future Orientation
The narrative is a functional skill and a means for sharing stories which consist of a single event or events causally related to the individual’s past, present, and future. In this study we aimed to explore the narratives of a voiceless population in society and in research: adults with a dual diagnosis of intellectual disability (ID) and a mental health problem (MHP). Our operative goals were to explore the meaning of their lives as people with a dual diagnosis, their quality of life, and their aspirations for the future. The core questions of the study were: which type of disability is assimilated in their identity: ID, MHP, or both? What is their perception regarding their quality of life in the present and their horizon for the future? Our study was based on the three functions (the directive personal identity, a social function, and a directive/problem-solving function) of the Autobiographical Memory Model. We analyzed semi-structured interviews of twelve adults (aged 31-60) with mild-moderate ID and an MHP using mixed qualitative and quantitative methods. The findings yielded four themes: personal identity, directive problem-solving function, current quality of life, and future orientation. Wilcoxon analysis indicated that the MHP is more prominent in the participants’ personal identities. Thus, people with a dual diagnosis cannot bear the burden of two disabilities. The medical staff still exhibits a medical approach. Social theories such as the Multidimensional Insight Model, Stigma Theory, the Social Inclusion Model, and the Future Time Perspective Theory can serve as explanations.
life stories, mixed-methods, persons with a dual diagnosis, intellectual disability, mental health problem, identity, quality of life, future orientation
The author expresses here deep appreciation to the 12 students with ID and MHP who participated in this study
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Recommended APA Citation
Lifshitz, H. B., & Shahar, A. (2022). Life Story Narratives of Adults with Intellectual Disability and Mental Health Problems: Personal Identity, Quality of Life and Future Orientation. The Qualitative Report, 27(12), 2839-2871. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.6018
Disability Studies Commons, Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies Commons