Gender issues for people with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems: Asking what service users and staff think

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Department of Clinical Psychology
  • South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust


Purpose: The current qualitative study aims to investigate service users', support staff's and community team members' views of gender differences in cause and presentation of mental health problems, whether current services respond differently to men and women with mental health problems and areas in which services can become more gender sensitive. Design/methodology/approach: Two focus groups were conducted with service users with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems in addition to two focus groups with a variety of staff. Subsequently, individual interviews were conducted with both male and female staff members employed in residential and community intellectual disability services. The number of participants totalled 54 (16 service users and 38 staff). Thematic analysis was adopted in order to identify dominant themes in the discourse of these stakeholder groups. Findings: The analysis produced a number of themes which include: compliance versus challenge; vulnerability; expression of emotion; gender equality; same sex support; caring qualities; and boundaries. Originality/value: A number of suggestions for improving services are discussed in the context of the current findings.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-190
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013


  • Focus groups, Gender, Mental health, Mental health services, Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas