Short Review

Psychopathology in young people with mild ID or borderline intellectual functioning: research findings from representative (clinical) samples & future needs

Marielle C. Dekker (Academische Werkplaats Kajak, 2019)


Children, adolescents and young adults (henceforward denoted as young people) with mild intellectual disability (MID) or borderline intellectual functioning (BIF) show deficits in cognitive abilities (IQ 50–70 for MID; IQ 70-85 for BIF) and adaptive behavior and have an increased risk for psychopathology, which further compounds deficits in adaptive functioning and hinder development. Available research concerning young people with ID has several limitations: 1. young people with MID or BIF are understudied; 2. few studies differentiate between levels of ID; 3. few studies enroll a random sample of unselected children from the general population; 4. studies on psychopathology do not take adaptive functioning into account when defining ID; 5. few studies compare risk factors for psychopathology or referral to mental health care between young people with and without ID; 6. very few studies look at long term prediction and developmental course of psychopathology in young people with ID, and 7. research is scarce with respect to representative clinical samples of young people with ID to study determinants of treatment response with regard to adaptive functioning and problem symptoms. In this compact review we will discuss the latest research findings, published in the last two decades, on prevalence of ID and of psychopathology, predictors of referral to mental health care and treatment success, developmental course and risk factors related to psychopathology.

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