152518 Measuring the Disability Continuum in a Policy (Yes/No) Context

Monday, November 5, 2007: 11:15 AM

Barbara Altman, PhD , Dsability Statistics Consultant, Rockville, MD
Stephen Gulley, PhD, MSW , Rehabilitation Medicine Department, National Institutes of Health, Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, MD
In the shadow of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Architectural Barrier Act and the ADA there is great pressure on those who collect and provide data to report “the number” that represents the disability population in the United States. Policy decisions require an accurate count. However, data collection procedures, number of questions asked, question wording, answer categories all contribute to variation in “the absolute number” to the detriment of policy progress. Using data from the Joint Canada, United States Health Survey, this analysis examines the responses of survey participants to four different sets of questions used in the US and Canada to identify the population with disabilities. Taken together these question sets, some with answer categories that provide a range of answers rather than yes/no, identify a broad continuum of disability among the Canadian and US adult populations, approximately 51% of both. This analysis examines the relationships among those questions sets and explores the characteristics of the respondents and how they answer the multiple sets. The conclusions posit the way that the multiple “numbers” that represent the population of persons with disabilities are related and make recommendations for their policy use and how the information gleaned can be used to also improve and in some instances standardized disability measurement in national surveys.

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate reported population estimates of disability Describe or list the factors that contribute to different population estimates of disability Recognize the appropriate disability population estimates for various policy questions.

Keywords: Disability Policy, Disability Studies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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