Adults with intellectual disabilities as users of social media: A scoping review

Sian Anderson, Tal Araten-Bergman, Gillian Steel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Social media use continues to grow, and it offers an important way for adults with intellectual disabilities to feel socially included and to communicate with others. Aim: This study aimed to establish the state of knowledge about social media use among adults with intellectual disabilities, their experiences and its impact. Method: A scoping review was conducted of peer-reviewed literature published between 2000 and 2021 that reported empirical research on social media use, experiences, training and outcomes for adults with intellectual disabilities. Findings: Adults with intellectual disabilities use social media platforms and experience a range of positive outcomes including feeling more included and valued. Some of the negative impacts included bullying and exploitation. The high cost of technology and some elements of design sometimes make social media inaccessible. Conclusions: The studies included provided evidence about the experience of using social media from adults with intellectual disabilities and some perspectives of family members and paid supporters. Future research is needed to examine effective approaches to overcoming barriers to access and ways to manage some of the negative impacts of engagement in order to inform policy and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-564
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. British Journal of Learning Disabilities published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • adults
  • communication
  • identity
  • inclusion
  • intellectual disabilities
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Pediatrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Adults with intellectual disabilities as users of social media: A scoping review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this