Participatory Peer Research in the Treatment of Young Adults With Mild Intellectual Disabilities and Severe Behavioral Problems

Louis Tavecchio, Peer Van der Helm, Xavier Moonen, Mark Assink, Geert Jan Stams, Inge Wissink, Jessica Asscher - New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development


This study provides an illustration of a research design complementary to randomized controlled trial to evaluate program effects, namely, participatory peer research (PPR). The PPR described in current study was carried out in a small sample (N = 10) of young adults with mild intellectual disabilities (MID) and severe behavioral problems [in residential care in the Netherlands]. During the PPR intervention, control and feedback to individuals is restored by training them to become participant‐researchers, who collaborate in a small group of people with MID. Their research is aimed at the problems the young adults perceive and/or specific subjects of their interest. The study was designed as a multiple case study with an experimental and comparison group. Questionnaires and a semistructured interview were administered before and after the PPR project. Results of Reliable Change Index (RCI) analyses showed a decrease in self‐serving cognitive distortions in the PPR group, but not in the comparison group. These results indicate that PPR helps to compensate for a lack of adequate feedback and control, and in turn may decrease distorted thinking and thereby possibly later challenging behavior.