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Revista Española de Salud Pública

versión impresa ISSN 1135-5727


ALMENARA BARRIOS, José et al. Psychosocial-medical assessment of a mentally retarded adult population. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.73, n.3, pp.383-392. ISSN 1135-5727.

BACKGROUND: This study is aimed at describing the psychological, psychopathological, medical and social aspects of a mentally retarded population being provided with care by AFANAS-Jerez affording the possibility of assessing this type of problem from an epidemiological standpoint. METHODS: A descriptive case series study is conducted to characterize a mentally retarded (MR) population. An assessment was made of the psychological, medical and social aspects. The degree of intelligence was analyzed using the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale. The adaptive behavior, frequency, typology and seriousness of the behavior problems were assessed by means of the Service Planning and Individual Scheduling Inventory. A psychopathological screening examination was conducted. This study is rounded out with a social and medical evaluation by means of structured interviews. The information from the different areas was encoded and was analyzed using the EPIINFO v6.0 and C.I.A. programs. RESULTS: The average age of the mentally retarded population studied was 32.2 (S.D. 9.2 years). Seventy-four percent (73)% males as compared to 27% females. Behavior problems were found to exist among 45.1% of the subjects. We have set up a statistical relationship between the existence/non-existence of said problems and the degree of MR, such that the greater the loss of intellectual capacity, the greater the probability of having behavior problems. One of the psychopathological symptoms worthy of special mention is the anxiety found to exist among 60.2%. The medical examination reveals the large number of problems related to with MR, we thus finding 22.48% of the subjects to have epilepsy, nearly 20% Down’s Syndrome, etc. Also worthy of special mention is the low educational level of the parents and the family conflicts resulting from the child’s retardation. CONCLUSIONS: Special mention must be made of how MR is a highly complex whole entailing a large number of related medical, psychological, psychiatric and social disorders, this being a situation brought to fore in this study, many of the disorders revealed to exist being related to the degree of MR. We are of the opinion that an epidemiological approach to the study of MR may be of use for a better comprehension of this problem.

Palabras clave : Mental retardation; Epidemiology; Comorbility; Handicaps.

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