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The present study examined the views of four people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) on the relationships in their lives which they described as close friendships. A participatory approach was adopted in this study, whereby the participants were seen as experts on their own close friendship experiences and the researchers as marshallers of this expertise. To this end, two in-depth interviews were conducted with each participant. They shared their individual expertise on the close friendships in their lives. The participants delineated two distinctive types of close friendships: the ‘good mate’ and the girlfriend/boyfriend. The factors mediating each of these friendship types are discussed. Avenues for further research and consideration are given. These include the significance of friendships with people with IDs, intimate relationships, the impact of environmental factors on friendship enactment and friendships with older people who have IDs. Finally, the present paper argues for the value of adopting participatory approaches to research with people who have IDs.

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Journal Article

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