Abstract

Romantic relationships are important in the lives of adults with developmental disabilities. The purpose of this study was to explore dating and romantic relationships among these adults and to identify the nature and extent of interpersonal violence in their relationships. A random sample of 47 women and men participated in semistructured interviews. The authors found that relationships sounded very typical of people without disabilities, but their time together was more limited than they wanted. A high percentage of participants had experienced interpersonal violence, primarily in the form of name calling, yelling, screaming, and physical assault. Although the police and family or friends were the first sources of assistance following an abusive incident, more than one third of the participants said they did not seek any help.

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