Lower well-being of young Australian adults with self-reported disability reflects their poorer living conditions rather than health issues

Eric Emerson, Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Anne Honey, Maina Kariuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To determine the extent to which the lower well-being of young Australians with disabilities could be accounted for by increased rates of exposure to adversity and reduced access to personal, economic, social and community resources. Methods: Secondary analysis of data extracted from Waves 1 (2001) to 8 (2008) of the annual longitudinal survey of Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia. Results: Self-reported disability was associated with significantly lower scores on all indicators of psychological wellbeing. However, people self-reporting disability were more likely to be exposed to adversity and less likely to have access to a range of personal, economic, material, social and community resources. When these between-group differences in social context were controlled for, the betweengroup differences in psychological wellbeing were largely eliminated. Conclusion: Our results suggest that, among younger adults in Australia, the association between disability and lower psychological well-being largely reflects their increased risk of exposure to adversity and reduced access to resources, rather than the presence of health conditions or impairments per se. Implications: Public health interventions aimed at improving the well-being of young adults with a disability need to address the predominantly social determinants of wellbeing in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adversity
  • Disability
  • Quality of life
  • Resources
  • Well-being

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