A review of defining and measuring sociability in children with intellectual disabilities

Fay Cook*, Chris Oliver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


There is a substantial body of research indicating that compromised social functioning for individuals with intellectual disabilities has far reaching implications for quality of life, community participation and wellbeing. However, an inherent difficulty for research into social functioning is the lack of agreed definition of key concepts in the area. The current paper reviews definitions for four concepts related to the central concept of sociability (social cognition, social competence, social skills and social behaviour). By reviewing the definitions available in the wider social and cognitive psychology literature and comparing these to definitions provided in research with individuals with intellectual disabilities it is clear that concepts are poorly defined. The current article proposes working definitions which may be used give impetus to future debate in the area. The clinical implications of having implicitly understood concepts rather than definable and measurable traits are considered. The review calls for researchers to provide definitions for the concepts under investigation and their relationship to measures employed in research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Children
  • Intellectual disability
  • Sociability
  • Social cognition
  • Social skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'A review of defining and measuring sociability in children with intellectual disabilities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this