People with learning disabilities suffer from mental-health problems as much as, if not more than, other people. Cognitive behaviour therapy has been found to be effective for a number of different mental-health problems but it is unclear whether people with learning disabilities are able to grasp the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviour that they need to understand in order for the therapy to be effective. Researchers from the University of East Anglia and Norfolk Primary Care NHS Trust looked into this issue in a study of 34 adults with learning disabilities. 18 of them were given training in distinguishing between thoughts, feelings and behaviours and in linking thoughts and feelings while the rest of the participants went to a relaxation class. The study found that the training led to significant improvements in the particpants' abilities to link thoughts and feelings, skills that could then be applied to new situations. However, the training had no effect on the participants' ability to distinguish between thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
Bruce, Melanie ... [et al] - Does training improve understanding of core concepts in cognitive behaviour therapy by people with intellectual disabilities? A randomized experiment British Journal of Clinical Psychology March 2010, 49(1), 1-13