Psychological interventions for women with intellectual disabilities and forensic care needs: a systematic review of the literature

M. Hellenbach, M. Brown, T. Karatzias, R. Robinson

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    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective Research evidence to date concerning offending by people with intellectual disabilities (ID) has concentrated on male perpetrators and little is known about their female counterparts. This systematic literature review examines evidence on psycho-social therapies for the female intellectually disabled population within healthcare forensic facilities. Methods A search of health, psychology and social science databases was conducted, using a varying combination of search words to detect relevant literature for this review. Four studies published between 2001 and 2012 were identified for inclusion. Articles were organised and compared in relation to study characteristics, sample, kind of treatment, instruments used to measure treatment impact, and study findings. Findings In total, four studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria. A range of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)-orientated group interventions for people with learning disabilities were evaluated and in most studies improvements were reported in relation to reducing problem behaviour. Evidence that has been generated by the studies is, however, limited in its explanatory value because of study design and related methodological issues. Conclusions This review has identified a significant gap in relation to research-based therapies for women with ID and forensic care needs. In particular, more research is needed focusing on women with a dual diagnosis of ID and psychiatric disorder who present challenging or criminal behaviour.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)319-331
    JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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    • forensic care
    • female offenders
    • intellectual disability
    • treatment


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