Disability discrimination linked with health problems

Posted 6 months ago


New research published by the University of Melbourne has found that people who experience disability-based discrimination can also suffer from poor health.

The study featured in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health focused on self-reported interpersonal discrimination on the grounds of disability and its relationship with heath.

Researchers found discrimination was associated with increased odds of psychological distress and poor self-rated health, concluding that: “Discrimination has a moderate to strong association with poorer health.”

“Disability-based discrimination is an under-recognised public health problem,” the report finds.

“Public health policy, research and practice needs to concentrate efforts on developing policy and programs that reduce discrimination experienced by Australians with disability.”

The research analysed data from 6183 participants aged 15-64 from the 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC), which is Australia's’ first population-based data on interpersonal disability-based discrimination.

Findings also revealed that almost 14 percent of Australians (aged 15-64) with a disability reported that they had experienced discrimination in the past year.

Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health Co-Director Anne Kavanagh believes the rates were likely to be higher because of the reluctance to report discrimination and lack of recognition towards discriminatory behaviour.

“This discrimination can take many forms, such as being overlooked for a promotion due to a disability that does not impair the person’s ability to do the job, or not being provided with a service such as a taxi,” she says.

Other results discovered that people with intellectual or psychological disabilities fared the worst; with about one in four reporting discrimination, whereas 14 percent of people with physical impairments reported discrimination.

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