Heyman, Bob and Huckle, Sarah (1993) Not worth the risk? Attitudes of adults with learning difficulties, and their informal and formal carers to the hazards of everyday life. Social Science and Medicine, 37 (12). pp. 1557-1564. ISSN 0277-9536

Twenty adults with learning difficulties (adults) living at home with informal carers, mostly parents, and attending Adult Training Centres (ATCs) were interviewed about their everyday lives and information was also obtained from informal and formal carers. The problem of dealing with the hazards of everyday life emerged as an important theme. The thinking of adults and informal carers could be understood in terms of the moral dimension of hazards, through the distinction between risks, to be calculated, and dangers, to be avoided. Adults and informal carers within families largely agreed in their categorization of hazards but differences were found. In families where the head of the household had had a professional or skilled manual occupation, adults and informal carers were most likely to agree that hazards for the adult were dangers to be avoided. In families which had a history of unemployment or unskilled occupations adults and informal carers were most likely to treat certain hazards as risks to be taken. The latter families were also less likely to have 2 informal carers. Adults from more risk-tolerant families appeared to be achieving more of their potential in everyday living skills. Formal carers at ATCs were more accepting of risks for adults with learning difficulties than informal carers and there was misunderstanding and conflict between formal and informal carers as a result.

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