The mental health of young people with disabilities: impact of social conditions
- 1.7k Downloads
Young people with disabilities have poorer mental health than their non-disabled peers. However, people with disabilities are more likely than others to experience financial hardship and low social support, both of which have been linked with poor mental health outcomes. This article explores the extent to which the relatively poor mental health of young people with disabilities is related to the social conditions in which they live.
Secondary analysis was performed on Wave 6 (2006) of the survey of Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA). This nationally representative sample included 3,392 young Australians, aged 15–29, of whom 475 reported having a long-term health condition, impairment or disability.
Young people with disabilities reported poorer mental health than their non-disabled peers. However, this relationship was moderated by both social adversity and social support, with minimal differences in mental health observed between the groups under conditions of high social support and low financial hardship.
The results suggest that disability represents a potential adversity that may be exacerbated or ameliorated by the effects of wealth/financial hardship and social support.
It may be possible to improve the mental health of disabled people by addressing their social exclusion.
KeywordsDisability Young people Mental health Social support Financial hardship
This research was the outcome of the collaboration “Achieving Better Health Outcomes for Youth with Chronic Health Conditions: A Pan Disciplinary Approach”. The collaboration was seed-funded by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, whose support we greatly appreciate. We would also like to thank the other collaborators for their participation and contributions. This paper uses unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The HILDA Project was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (Melbourne Institute). The findings and views reported in this paper, however, are those of the author and should not be attributed to either FaHCSIA or the Melbourne Institute.
- 1.Australian Bureau of Statistics (1997) SF-36 population norms: Australia. ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 2.Australian Bureau of Statistics (1998) Mental health and wellbeing: profile of adults, Australia, 1997. ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 3.Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Information paper: disability, ageing and carers, Australia: user guide 2003. ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 4.Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) Australian social trends 2005. ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 5.Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) 20680-indigenous status by age—Australia. ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 6.Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) Basic community profile 2006 census community profile series. ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 7.Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008) Australian social trends 2008: population distribution. ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 8.Australian Institute of Health, Welfare (2003) Disability prevalence and trends. AIHW, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 9.Australian Institute of Health, Welfare (2007) Young Australians: their health and wellbeing 2007. AIHW, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 10.Australian Institute of Health, Welfare (2008) Disability in Australia: trends in prevalence education employment and community living. AIHW, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 11.Bajekal M, Harries T, Breman R, Woodfield K (2004) Review of disability estimates and definitions. National Centre for Social Research, LondonGoogle Scholar
- 13.Burchardt T, Le Grand J, Piachaud D (2002) Degrees of exclusion: developing a dynamic, multidimensional measure. In: Hills J, Le Grand J, Piachaud D (eds) Understanding social exclusion. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 30–43Google Scholar
- 14.Butterworth P, Crosier T (2004) The validity of the SF-36 in an Australian national household survey: demonstrating the applicability of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to examination of health inequalities. BMC Public Health, pp 1–11Google Scholar
- 17.Committee on Children with Disabilities and Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (1993) Psychosocial risks of chronic health conditions in childhood and adolescence. Pediatrics 92:876–877Google Scholar
- 18.Connell RW (1995) Masculinities. Allen and Unwin, SydneyGoogle Scholar
- 23.Emerson E, Honey A, Madden R, Llewellyn G (2009) The well-being of Australian adolescents and young adults with self-reported long-term health conditions, impairments or disabilities: 2001 and 2006. Aust J Soc Issues 44:39–53Google Scholar
- 28.Gannon B, Nolan B (2006) The dynamics of disability and social inclusion in Ireland. The Economic and Social Research Institute, DublinGoogle Scholar
- 30.Goggin G, Newell C (2005) Disability in Australia: exposing a social apartheid. UNSW Press, SydneyGoogle Scholar
- 33.Headey B, Warren D (2008) Families, incomes and jobs, volume 3: a statistical report on waves 1 to 5 of the HILDA survey. Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- 35.HILDA (2006) HILDA survey annual report 2006. Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- 42.Marmot M, Wilkinson RG (eds) (2006) Social determinants of health, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- 46.Mont D (2007) Measuring disability prevalence. Social protection discussion papers. World Bank, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- 54.Saunders P (2006) The costs of disability and the incidence of poverty. Social Policy Research Centre, University of NSW, SydneyGoogle Scholar
- 55.Sawyer MG, Arney FM, Baghurst PA, Clark JJ, Graetz BW, Kosky RJ, Nurcombe B, Patton GC, Prior MR, Raphael B, Rey J, Whaites LC, Zubrick SR (2000) Mental health of young people in Australia: child and adolescent component of the National Survey of Mental Health and Well-being. Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- 60.Stewart D, Antle BJ, Healy H, Law M, Young NL (2007) Best practice guidelines for transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities in Ontario: an evidence-based approach. CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, OntarioGoogle Scholar
- 61.Varni J, Limbers C, Burwinkle T (2007) Impaired health-related quality of life in children and adolescents with chronic conditions: a comparative analysis of 10 disease clusters and 33 disease categories/severities utilizing the PedsQL™ 4.0 Generic Core Scales. Health Qual Life Outcomes 5:43CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 63.Ware JE, Snow KK, Kosinski M, Gandek B (2000) SF-36 Health Survey: manual and interpretation guide. QualityMetric Inc., LincolnGoogle Scholar
- 64.Watson N (ed) (2008) HILDA user manual: Release 6. Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- 65.Watson N, Wooden M (2002) The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey: wave 1 survey methodology. HILDA project technical paper series. University of Melbourne, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- 67.Wilkinson RG (2005) The impact of inequality. The New Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 69.World Health Organisation (2008) Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar