Surprisingly complex life: Sue Leung's story

Gerard P PRENDERGAST*, Savini Ma, Elizabeth Tsui Yan Ming

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: While numerous studies relating to the lives of intellectually challenged people have been published previously, most have been from the caregiver's perspective and lack an insider's view. In addition, none of them were conducted in a Chinese context. Our purpose is to fill this gap by studying the life of Sue Leung, an intellectually disabled Chinese woman in Hong Kong. Methods: Using a narrative approach that combined interviews and observational data collected over an extended time period, the research sought a holistic understanding of her life, how she interacts with others and the challenges and difficulties she faces. Results: Sue Leung's life proved to be complex with social, spiritual, psychological, sexual and financial dimensions. Her story, in which she herself and other mentally impaired people are the actors, reflects to some degree the world of mentally impaired people, at least in Hong Kong. Their world is just as complex as that of anyone else. Violence, dangers, romances, friendships and goodwill also exist in that world. Discussion: Sue Leung's story has helped to unravel the various dimensions of her life and enabled a deeper understanding of the challenges and difficulties a mildly intellectually disabled woman has to face in her life in Hong Kong. Social implications are discussed, and recommendations are made for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalAsia-Pacific Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

User-Defined Keywords

  • Asia
  • Mental health and illness
  • Narrative inquiry
  • Social support


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