Do disability, parenthood, and gender matter for health disparities? A US population-based study

Eun Ha Namkung, Monika Mitra, Joanne Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Existing research has documented adverse health outcomes among parents with disabilities relative to parents without disabilities, but little is known about whether parenthood adds unique stress and health consequences for people with disabilities. Less is known about whether the effects of parenthood differ between mothers and fathers with disabilities. Objectives: This paper examined health-related quality of life, obesity, and health behaviors between US parents and nonparents with and without disabilities. We also explored differences in health outcomes separately for men and women by one's parental and disability status. Methods: An analytic sample of parents and nonparents aged 18–64, with and without disabilities, were derived from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (9,117 parents and 33,961 nonparents with disabilities). Multivariate logistic regression analyses were applied, controlling for individuals’ socio-demographic characteristics and their history of chronic conditions. Results: Parents with disabilities, compared to parents without disabilities and nonparents with and without disabilities, were at higher risk of reporting frequent physical distress, obesity, smoking, and insufficient sleep. Among those with disabilities, fathers were more likely than nonfathers to report poor or fair health, frequent physical and mental distress, and obesity; these differences were not evident between mothers and nonmothers with disabilities. Conclusions: The findings suggest the urgent need for policies and programs to address the health-related needs of parents with disabilities, as well as the need for targeted programs to support fathers with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-601
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by two grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (grant numbers 90AR5024-01-00 ; 90DPGE000101 ) to Brandeis University. This study was presented in an oral session at the Annual Conference of Society for Social Work Research, San Francisco, CA, on January 18, 2019. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Funding Information:
This study was presented in an oral session at the Annual Conference of Society for Social Work Research, San Francisco, CA, on January 18, 2019.This research was supported by two grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (grant numbers 90AR5024-01-00; 90DPGE000101) to Brandeis University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Co-residence
  • Father
  • Health behavior
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Mother

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