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Love and Loving Relationships in People with Learning Disabilities: A Scientific Approach

Raquel Morentin (Department of Psychology, University of Valladolid, Spain)
Benito Arias (Department of Psychology, University of Valladolid, Spain)
Cristina Jenaro (University of Salamanca, Spain)
J Rodríguez‐Mayoral (Asprona, Valladolid, Spain)
Michelle McCarthy (Tizard Centre, University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 1 August 2008



Love has been a recurring theme through history and literature, and its relevance to health, well‐being and quality of life has been widely acknowledged. However, the scientific study of love has not yet reached people with learning disabilities. The study reported here was based on research with 376 people with learning disabilities in Spain, and aimed to analyse their appraisal of love, loving relationships and related issues (global evaluation, satisfaction, role of the family and self‐determination). A Likert‐type measure was developed, and the outcomes indicate that the measures have satisfactory psychometric characteristics. It is also evident that the theoretical model of love for people without disabilities can be applied to individuals with disabilities, and includes three key factors (‘commitment, stability and idealisation’, ‘passion and physiological arousal’ and ‘intimacy and romanticism’). It also indicates that the perceptions of love in people with learning disabilities are relatively idealised and influenced by context, and interference from family and self‐determination are key issues.


Morentin, R., Arias, B., Jenaro, C., Rodríguez‐Mayoral, J. and McCarthy, M. (2008), "Love and Loving Relationships in People with Learning Disabilities: A Scientific Approach", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 33-41.



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