Prevention and Intervention Programs Targeting Sexual Abuse in Individuals with Mild Intellectual Disability: A Systematic Review

Kelly J. Stobbe*, Mia Scheffers, Jooske T. van Busschbach, Robert Didden

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    186 Downloads (Pure)


    Introduction: Compared to their non-disabled peers, individuals with mild intellectual disability (MID) are at higher risk of becoming a victim of sexual abuse and more vulnerable to its disruptive effects. This review provides an overview of content and effectiveness of prevention and intervention programs targeting sexual abuse in individuals with MID.

    Methods: PRISMA guidelines were followed and quality and effectiveness of the programs were evaluated taking into account the rating of the Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies (QATQS).

    Results: Twelve studies were included. In prevention programs role-play prevailed, whereas the content of intervention programs varied. All studies received a "weak" QATQS rating. By consequence, effectiveness of the program was downgraded to "unclear" in ten, and "ineffective" in two studies.

    Conclusion: Further development of programs and higher quality of research is needed to investigate whether they are effective in preventing sexual abuse or reducing its consequences in individuals with MID.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-158
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of mental health research in intellectual disabilities
    Issue number2
    Early online date7-Mar-2021
    Publication statusPublished - 3-Apr-2021


    • Sexual abuse
    • mild intellectual disability
    • prevention
    • intervention

    Cite this