Who helps? Characteristics and correlates of informal supporters to adults with disabilities

Kelli A. Sanderson, Meghan M. Burke, Richard C. Urbano, Catherine K. Arnold, Robert M. Hodapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined who provides informal (or unpaid) supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Participants included 657 adult siblings of people with disabilities who responded to a national survey about informal supports in the areas of recreation, employment, and housing. Results indicated that most people with IDD received informal supports, with parents and sibling respondents most often providing those supports. Support was most commonly received in recreation, as opposed to housing or employment. Asked to list nonfamily informal supporters, respondents often mentioned paid staff and disability organizations. Correlates of total numbers of informal supporters included the individual with disability's functioning level and parents' ability to care for their offspring with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-510
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican journal on intellectual and developmental disabilities
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Developmental disabilities
  • Informal supports
  • Intellectual disability
  • Natural supports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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