Self-determination in people with intellectual disabilities who age and some variables that affect their development

Título traducido de la contribución: Autodeterminación en personas con discapacidad intelectual que envejecen y algunas variables que inciden en su desarrollo

Izaskun Álvarez-Aguado, Vanessa Vega Córdova, Herbert Spencer González, Félix González-Carrasco, Marcela Jarpa Azagra, Karla Campaña Vilo

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

1 Cita (Scopus)


Self-determination is a key construct to guarantee the development of skills that enable people with disabilities to acquire control over their lives. This concept is understood as a set of volitional actions or abilities that help the person to act as the primary causal agent in their own life without unnecessary external influences. Progressively, this construct has been shaped as a personal disposition to exercise control over one’s own behavior, becoming a priority educational goal and an indicator of quality of life in the field of intellectual disability. However, people with intellectual disabilities have premature aging processes generally accompanied by mental health disorders or emotional problems that hinder the performance of self-determination skills. Specifically, they have difficulties in developing actions aimed at promoting positive attributions of effectiveness or aimed at establishing personal goals. This complicates the acquisition of skills for self-regulation and the increase of personal empowerment skills. This study seeks to know the self-determination levels of 516 aging adults with intellectual disabilities aged between 45 and 86 years (M = 68.32; S = 4.95). Most of them live in the Metropolitan Region (Chile), have severe intellectual disabilities, are men and live with the family. From a quantitative approach and under an inclusive research model, the data have been collected using an ad hoc scale as a result of the revision of the ARC-INICO Self-determination Assessment Scale (Verdugo et al., 2015) and the Self-determination Scale ARC staff (Wehmeyer, 1995). The results have been analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics that have preceded the use of parametric statistics. The self-determination levels of the majority of the participants (39.1 %) are in a low range. In addition, the development of competencies related to self-defense or self-knowledge are greatly diminished, unlike other skills such as making choices or solving problems. Likewise, the analysis shows how those participants who reside in the family home present higher averages in their self-determination than those who live outside the family home. Similarly, participants with mental health disorders have lower averages in their self-determination than those who do not present these pathologies. Regarding the degree of disability, the levels of self-determination of the mild group are higher than those of the group of adults with severe intellectual disability. Those who most often have family support have higher levels of self-determination than those who receive only professional support. With regard to age, the youngest participants have higher averages than the rest in terms of their self-determination. The discussion highlights, among others, the need to prioritize the learning of skills related to self-realization as the basis of the proposals for intervention in self-determination at this stage of life. The results suggest some implications to consider for the planning of interventions, for example, they should seek the development of skills that strengthen the self-defense capacity of people with intellectual disabilities, promote the increase of opportunities for the realization of meaningful choices, adapt to the scenarios in which aging people with intellectual disabilities usually operate, and involve families and professionals to achieve skills related to self-determination in old age. Despite the fact that one of the main limitations of this research is that the results are not generalizable, this study contributes to enriching the bulk of research on self-determination in late adulthood, this being an aspect barely addressed in the literature. In addition, it suggests the development of future lines of research related to the impact of technological supports on the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities who age or with the study of cognitive impairment or the presence of mental health disorders in the levels of self-determination of these people.

Título traducido de la contribuciónAutodeterminación en personas con discapacidad intelectual que envejecen y algunas variables que inciden en su desarrollo
Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)139-154
Número de páginas16
EstadoPublicada - 2021


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