Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_806


Physical or mental impairment


Disability is an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations or participation restrictions.

Disability is a physical or mental impairment that occurs at birth or later in life and is not curable. It substantially limits the condition or duration under which an average person in the population is able to perform a major life activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, taking care of oneself, learning or working. The disability has not only a substantial but also a long term (at least 12 months) adverse effect on the person's ability to participate in the normal every-day life activities listed above.

According to the World Health Organization, disability is distinctive from functional impairment and handicap . While the term Impairment refers to any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function, the term disability refers to any restriction or lack (resulting from...

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© Springer-Verlag 2008