The self-rated health of British adults with intellectual disability

Res Dev Disabil. 2014 Mar;35(3):591-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.01.005. Epub 2014 Jan 27.


People with intellectual disability have significantly higher age-adjusted rates of mortality and morbidity than their non-disabled peers. While self-rated health status is commonly used as an indicator of the health status of populations of interest, few studies have explored the self-rated health of adults with intellectual disability. We undertook secondary analysis of de-identified cross-sectional data from the first waves of two contemporary UK surveys: the Life Opportunities Survey (n=37,513) and Understanding Society (n=50,976). In the Life Opportunities Survey we identified 316 participants age 16-49 (1.7% of the age-restricted sample) as having intellectual disability. In Understanding Society we identified 415 participants age 16-49 (1.5% of the age-restricted sample) as having intellectual disability. Participants with intellectual disability were significantly more likely to report having fair or worse health than their peers (Life Opportunities Survey OR=8.86 (6.54-12.01), p<0.001; Understanding Society OR=13.14 (10.65-16.21), p<0.001). However the strength of this association was significantly attenuated when risk estimates were adjusted to take account of the increased rates of exposure of participants with intellectual disability to socio-economic disadvantage and (in the Life Opportunities Survey) exposure to discrimination and violence.

Keywords: Discrimination; Health; Health disparities; Self-rated health; Socio-economic disadvantage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Report*
  • Social Discrimination*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom
  • Violence*
  • Young Adult