Staff attitudes towards individuals with intellectual disabilities: A service related study of policies and procedures

James Lee Murray, Raymond MacDonald, G. Brown, Victor L Levenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Numerous authors have discussed the need for empirical research concerning the sexuality of individuals with intellectual disabilities (Cambridge, 1997; Murray & Minnes, 1994). Within the present study, 332 employees from three different organisations (NHS, Social Services, and the private & voluntary sector) providing services to individuals with intellectual disabilities were invited to participate. Completed questionnaires were anonymously returned by 54% of the sample. Participants completed the 20-item Sexuality and Intellectual Disabilities Attitude Inventory (SIDAI) (Murray et ah, 1995), and answered questions about their organisation's formal policies concerning client sexuality. In general, moderate to highly liberal attitudes towards client sexuality were reported by participants. More specifically, health-care, management and professional staff reported significantly more liberal attitudes towards client sexuality than direct-care staff. Significantly fewer NHS participants were familiar with the formal policies concerning client sexuality than participants from Social Services and the Private & Voluntary sector. Additional findings were that 56% of all participants indicated that these formal policies did not influence their interactions with clients. The results are discussed within the context of improved staff training. Organisations providing services to individuals with intellectual disabilities are encouraged to bridge the gap between policies and practice concerning client sexuality. Limitations and directions for future consideration are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities
Volume27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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