Friendship and Inclusion of People with Intellectual Disabilities and Immigrant Care Workers

  • Author / Creator
    Neri, Deanna
  • Friendship plays an integral part in modern life. Apart from families and romantic partners, friends are one of the most important sources of fulfillment and foundation for a well-lived life. However, studies have shown that people with intellectual disabilities face more challenges forming and maintaining friendships compared to people without disabilities. This research pays close analytic attention to friendship, an understudied domain relative to kinship in the extant anthropological literature. I am particularly interested in how disability support workers facilitate the inclusion of adults with intellectual disabilities. For this population, supported community participation and increased community presence are crucial in opening opportunities for socialization and friendship formation. Front-line care workers are overwhelmingly women and disproportionately immigrant women. As they facilitate the inclusion of their clients, they too experience social isolation. Data gathered from 20 in-depth interviews with front-line care workers in Edmonton, Canada show four key points; (1) staff develop an affectionate relationship with clients but some do not call it “friendship” to maintain professional boundaries, (2) genuine relationships help staff understand clients better and gives them a deeper sense of purpose in life, (3) context, environment, and frequency of meetings are essential for the development of friendships, (4) friendships among people with and without disabilities are crucial for community development. Through this research, I intend to contribute to the growing anthropological discussion on friendship and its importance in binding contemporary societies. This study will shed light on the importance of friendship for people with intellectual disabilities and disability support workers.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.