What Things Make People with a Learning Disability Happy and Satisfied with Their Lives: An Inclusive Research Project
Article first published online: 18 DEC 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Special Issue: Mental Health and Challenging Behaviour
Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 26–33, January 2013
How to Cite
Haigh, A., Lee, D., Shaw, C., Hawthorne, M., Chamberlain, S., Newman, D. W., Clarke, Z. and Beail, N. (2013), What Things Make People with a Learning Disability Happy and Satisfied with Their Lives: An Inclusive Research Project. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 26: 26–33. doi: 10.1111/jar.12012
- Issue published online: 18 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 18 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 NOV 2012
- intellectual disability;
- subjective well-being
We looked at the research that other people have done about what makes people with a learning disability happy and satisfied with their lives. Researchers call being happy and satisfied with your life ‘subjective well-being’. They found out that having things like money and good health does not always mean people are happy. They also found that some people are really happy, even if there are things in their lives they would like to change. None of the people who have done research about ‘subjective well-being’ have interviewed people with a learning disability about what makes them happy with their lives.
Materials and Methods
We have carried out a study about what makes people with a learning disability happy and satisfied with their lives. This report talks about the research that we did, and what we found out. We interviewed 20 people with a learning disability who said they were very happy and satisfied. We asked them about what things helped them feel like this.
The people we spoke to said things like relationships, choice and independence, activities and valuable social roles made them feel satisfied with their lives. They told us about the things that enable them to lead happy lives, and the things that disable them. We also found out about the importance of personal characteristics. These are things like looking on the bright side of life or having ways to manage difficult emotions like sadness or anger.
We found out that it is important for people with a learning disability to have good things in their lives, but it is also important to be enabled to access these good things.