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Research project on aggression in adults with learning disabilities

A multi-centre research project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and led by Professor Angela Hassiotis, UCL Division of Psychiatry and Consultant Psychiatrist at C&I, aims to develop a personalised treatment package for adults with learning disabilities who display moderate to severe aggression - an issue considered to be a major public health problem in the UK.

Learning’ disabilities, also called intellectual disabilities, are lifelong and affect about 1.5 million people in the UK. Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust in the lead organization for the project

“These people suffer significant health and social inequalities and are one of the most underserved population groups in terms of support and access to health services, leading to increased mortality,” said Professor Angela Hassiotis.

Around 10 per cent of adults with learning disabilities in the UK may display aggression which can co-exist with mental disorders, lead to hospitalisation, reduce a person’s quality of life and social inclusion, and has significant service costs..

The research aims to develop and test a co-produced personalised treatment package for adults with learning disabilities displaying aggression that could be implemented in the NHS.

Professor Hassiotis said that current behavioural approaches do not work for all adults with intellectual disabilities who display aggression, and there are many people who remain on long-term antipsychotic and other psychotropic medications. “Our research will be driven by particular focus on implementation to ensure that the new intervention can be delivered within health and social care settings tailored to each individual. If it were proven to be clinically and cost effective, it could then be rolled out in the NHS”.

Researchers at UCL will be collaborating with leading academics and clinicians from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, to deliver this much needed project.


Professor Angela Hassiotis https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=AHASS94

UCL Division of Psychiatry https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/

Camden and Islington Foundation Trust https://www.candi.nhs.uk/

National Institute for Health Research https://www.nihr.ac.uk/

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