Journal of Community Health

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 147–159 | Cite as

Variation in health conditions among groups of adults with disabilities in primary care

  • Suzanne McDermott
  • Robert Moran
  • Tan Platt
  • Srikanth Dasari


The literature on the health of adults with disabilities focuses on one disability compared to a comparison group. This study allows cross disability comparisons with the hypothesis. Adults with disabilities had higher odds of having common health conditions, compared to adults without disability in the same practice. A retrospective record review of 1449 patients with disability and 2084 patients without disability included individuals with sensory impairments (n=117), developmental disabilities (n=692), trauma-related impairments (n=155) and psychiatric impairments (n=485). The only two health conditions with statistically significantly increased odds for all groups with disabilities were dementia and epilepsy. Patients with developmental disabilities were less likely to have coronary artery disease, cancer, and obesity. Those with sensory impairments had increased odds for congestive heart failure, diabetes, transient ischemic attacks and death. Patients with trauma disabilities had increased odds for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and depression. Finally, psychiatric patients had increased odds for most of the investigated condition. In conclusion, there were many similarities in the risk for common health conditions such as asthma, cancer, coronary artery disease, depression, hypertension, and obesity, among patients with and without disability. Some of the conditions with increased odds ratios, including depression, seizures, and dementia are secondary to the primary disability.


sensory developmental traumatic psychiatric disability 



This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number R04/CCR418776 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne McDermott
    • 1
    • 3
  • Robert Moran
    • 2
  • Tan Platt
    • 1
  • Srikanth Dasari
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Family Practice CenterColumbiaUSA

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