Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Janet Chang


Past literature has showed that there have been several misdiagnosis of mental illness due to client’s delays in speech or introspection caused by an intellectual disability. It is believed that the intellectual disability is either interfering with the proper mental health diagnosis or a mental health diagnosis is unnecessarily being added to an intellectual disability. The study used a qualitative design that asked four psychiatrists on how they are treating their clients with an intellectual disability in addition to their mental illness. The interview guide asks about the difficulty in diagnosing individuals with a mental illness and a co-occurring intellectual disability. The proportion of clients also having an intellectual disability and co-occurring mental illness ranged from 5 to 20%. The problems that psychiatrists are running into are the fact that patients are not being correctly diagnosed before the age of 18 and are not able to get the resources that are needed, such as Inland Regional services.