Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 430–434 | Cite as

Psychiatric Resident Education in Intellectual Disabilities: One Program’s Ten Years of Experience

  • Stephen Ruedrich
  • Jonathan Dunn
  • Stephan Schwartz
  • Lynlee Nordgren
Original Article



The authors evaluated the confidence and willingness of resident graduates to treat individuals with intellectual disability (ID), following a residency rotation in developmental disability.


Thirty-two graduates of a single residency program were surveyed regarding their post-residency experience with patients with intellectual disability. All graduates had completed a 3 month, half-time residency rotation in intellectual disability. The anonymous 12-question survey sought feedback about satisfaction with the rotation, confidence in serving persons with ID, and actual post-residency work with ID patients.


Twenty-three of 32 (72%) of graduates returned surveys. On a 6-point scale (1 = strongly disagree; 6 = strongly agree), residents most strongly endorsed that the rotation had built their capacity in ID (5.78), confidence (5.48), and satisfaction (5.37). Lowest ratings were given to professional contact in ID initiated by the graduate (2.74), identifying expertise to the community (3.22), and post-residency practice with patients with ID (3.30). Differences between respondents who identified post-residency contact with persons with ID (N = 8), and respondents who did not (N=15), did not reach statistical significance.


Psychiatric graduates appear to value specialized education and experience in working with ID patients during residency, and feel more confident as a result. In spite of this, the majority of resident graduates did not identify ID training or expertise to their practice community, or choose to work with ID patients following residency.


Mental Retardation Intellectual Disability Intellectual Disability Developmental Disability Academic Psychiatry 
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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Ruedrich
    • 1
  • Jonathan Dunn
    • 1
  • Stephan Schwartz
    • 1
  • Lynlee Nordgren
    • 2
  1. 1.Case School of Medicine-PsychiatryMetroHealth Medical CenterClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation/Developmental DisabilitiesClevelandUSA

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