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Prevalence of axis I psychopathology in an intellectually disabled population in Marion County, Oregon: Level of disability, type of pathology and residential supports

18 April 2003


The prevalence of mental illness among the mentally retarded is higher than that
observed in the non-disabled in the majority of studies on the subject. With the trend towards closing large state-run care facilities for this population (locally evidenced by the closure of Fairview Training Center (FTC) in Salem, Oregon), the functioning of mentally retarded individuals in community homes has been of interest to the scientific and human services community. While there is an extensive body of literature on the prevalence of mental illness in various in-patient settings, relatively little attention has been given to the prevalence of mental illness in community settings that provide varying levels of support. Given the movement of many mentally retarded individuals from large intensive care lioiiiessucli as·FTCto community supports; more infonnation· isneeded-on-_.,
the numbers of those diagnosed with mental illness who are receiving support from various providers. This study examined the prevalence of mental illness among 179 clients served in several community settings in Marion County Oregon. Diagnoses were determined using retrospective case file review. A relatively high rate of Axis I psychopathology (31%) was found. Rates for specific types of disability, and Axis I pathology by level of disability and residential setting are reported. Implications for these fmdings are presented and recommendations for state and local care organizations are offered.


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