Choice of living arrangements

R. J. Stancliffe, K. C. Lakin, S. Larson, J. Engler, S. Taub, J. Fortune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background The rights to choose where and with whom to live are widely endorsed but commonly denied to adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). The current study provides a contemporary benchmark on the degree of choice exercised by adult service users in the USA. Method Data came from the National Core Indicators programme. Participants were 6778 adult service users living in non-family-home service settings in 26 US states. Results Most adults with ID did not participate in choosing where and with whom to live. Those with more support needs because of more severe ID and/or co-occurring conditions experienced less choice regarding living arrangements. Individuals living in their own home or an agency-operated apartment were more likely to choose where and with whom to live than individuals in nursing homes, institutions or group homes. However, few individuals with severe or profound ID chose where and with whom to live regardless of where they lived. Conclusions In 2008, despite community-living policies that emphasise choice, many adult service users with ID in the USA experienced little or no choice about where and with whom to live, especially those individuals with more severe ID. Our findings provide a clear endorsement of policies promoting more individualised living settings, such as one's own home or an agency apartment, because these settings do provide substantially more choice about living arrangements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-762
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Choice
  • Community living
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Living arrangements
  • Proxy respondents
  • Self-report


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