Structural and functional characteristics of the social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities

I. van Asselt-Goverts, P.J.C.M. Embregts, A.H.C. Hendriks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In the research on people with intellectual disabilities and their social networks, the functional characteristics of their networks have been examined less often than the structural characteristics. Research on the structural characteristics of their networks is also usually restricted to the size and composition of the networks, moreover, with little attention to such characteristics as the variety, accessibility, length and origin of the relationships or the frequency and initiation of the contacts. A comprehensive examination of both the structural and functional characteristics of the social networks of 33 people with intellectual disabilities was therefore undertaken. The social networks of the individuals who all lived in the community varied from 4 to 28 members (mean 14.21); 42.65% of the network members were family members, 32.84% acquaintances and 24.51% professionals. Remarkable is the high frequency of contact with network members; the finding that the participants considered themselves to be the main initiator of contact more often than the other members of their networks as the main initiators; the high scores assigned to neighbours and professionals for functional characteristics; and the relatively low scores assigned to network members for the connection characteristic of the social networks. The important role of professionals in the social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities and practical implications to facilitate their social inclusion are discussed.
Highlights
► Mapped social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities.
► Comprehensive examination of both structural and functional characteristics.
► Average size of social networks was 14.21 with 24.51% consisting of professionals.
► Professionals given high scores for affection, preference, practical/informational support.
► High frequency of contact with network members but relatively low scores for connection.
Keywords: Social network, Intellectual disabilities, Structural and functional characteristics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1280-1288
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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@article{7494dcfe1e534e9ab93679adf1210296,
title = "Structural and functional characteristics of the social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities",
abstract = "In the research on people with intellectual disabilities and their social networks, the functional characteristics of their networks have been examined less often than the structural characteristics. Research on the structural characteristics of their networks is also usually restricted to the size and composition of the networks, moreover, with little attention to such characteristics as the variety, accessibility, length and origin of the relationships or the frequency and initiation of the contacts. A comprehensive examination of both the structural and functional characteristics of the social networks of 33 people with intellectual disabilities was therefore undertaken. The social networks of the individuals who all lived in the community varied from 4 to 28 members (mean 14.21); 42.65{\%} of the network members were family members, 32.84{\%} acquaintances and 24.51{\%} professionals. Remarkable is the high frequency of contact with network members; the finding that the participants considered themselves to be the main initiator of contact more often than the other members of their networks as the main initiators; the high scores assigned to neighbours and professionals for functional characteristics; and the relatively low scores assigned to network members for the connection characteristic of the social networks. The important role of professionals in the social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities and practical implications to facilitate their social inclusion are discussed.Highlights► Mapped social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities. ► Comprehensive examination of both structural and functional characteristics.► Average size of social networks was 14.21 with 24.51{\%} consisting of professionals. ► Professionals given high scores for affection, preference, practical/informational support. ► High frequency of contact with network members but relatively low scores for connection.Keywords: Social network, Intellectual disabilities, Structural and functional characteristics",
author = "{van Asselt-Goverts}, I. and P.J.C.M. Embregts and A.H.C. Hendriks",
year = "2013",
doi = "10.1016/j.ridd.2013.01.012",
language = "English",
volume = "34",
pages = "1280--1288",
journal = "Research in Developmental Disabilities",
issn = "0891-4222",
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}

Structural and functional characteristics of the social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities. / van Asselt-Goverts, I.; Embregts, P.J.C.M.; Hendriks, A.H.C.

In: Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 34, No. 4, 2013, p. 1280-1288.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - van Asselt-Goverts, I.

AU - Embregts, P.J.C.M.

AU - Hendriks, A.H.C.

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - In the research on people with intellectual disabilities and their social networks, the functional characteristics of their networks have been examined less often than the structural characteristics. Research on the structural characteristics of their networks is also usually restricted to the size and composition of the networks, moreover, with little attention to such characteristics as the variety, accessibility, length and origin of the relationships or the frequency and initiation of the contacts. A comprehensive examination of both the structural and functional characteristics of the social networks of 33 people with intellectual disabilities was therefore undertaken. The social networks of the individuals who all lived in the community varied from 4 to 28 members (mean 14.21); 42.65% of the network members were family members, 32.84% acquaintances and 24.51% professionals. Remarkable is the high frequency of contact with network members; the finding that the participants considered themselves to be the main initiator of contact more often than the other members of their networks as the main initiators; the high scores assigned to neighbours and professionals for functional characteristics; and the relatively low scores assigned to network members for the connection characteristic of the social networks. The important role of professionals in the social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities and practical implications to facilitate their social inclusion are discussed.Highlights► Mapped social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities. ► Comprehensive examination of both structural and functional characteristics.► Average size of social networks was 14.21 with 24.51% consisting of professionals. ► Professionals given high scores for affection, preference, practical/informational support. ► High frequency of contact with network members but relatively low scores for connection.Keywords: Social network, Intellectual disabilities, Structural and functional characteristics

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