Abstract

Even though family plays a significant role in the lives of people with intellectual disability, little research has included their own views about their families. This study examined how 138 people with mild intellectual disability describe their family group, with a focus on the reciprocal nature of the emotional support in relationships with family members. Participants reported “significant” family members beyond the nuclear family, and parents were seen as the main provider of support. Only half of participants had a support relationship with siblings and just 13% of participants reported partners. About 30% of support was reciprocal, and reciprocity varied greatly with the types of family connection (e.g., siblings, peers). Implications for future research as well as practice are discussed.

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