The study sample included 525 adults aged 18 to 75 who lived in a small Western city and provide a “yes” response to at least one of five disability screening items used in the American Community Survey (ACS) to identify people with disabilities from within the general population. These questions include:
- Are you deaf or do you have serious difficulty hearing?
- Are you blind or do you have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?
- Do you have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
- Do you have difficulty dressing or bathing?
- Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, do you have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping?
We collected 601 postcards from our participant recruitment procedures (see below), from whom we collected 525 surveys. Then, we mailed follow-up surveys approximately every four months over the course of 18 months and received surveys from 488, 476 and 460 surveys in the second through fourth data collection waves. There 19 individuals who passed away during the study, which indicates an 8.8% attrition rate during the study. Descriptive statistics for the first wave of data are listed below.
|Demographic Characteristics of Survey Respondents (n=525)|
|No Longer Married||187||35.5|
|Member of unmarried couple||33||6.3|
|< Grade 12||38||7.2|
|Grade 12 or GED||112||21.3|
|Some college or tech training or Associate’s||200||38.1|
|Master’s or higher||63||12.0|
|Full-time >30 hrs/week||104||19.8|
|Part-time 1-30 hrs/week||43||8.2|
|Does not volunteer||279||53.1|
|Deaf/hard of hearing||146||27.8|
|Blind or difficulty seeing||66||12.6|
|Concentration, memory, or decision making difficulty||149||28.4|
|Difficulty walking or climbing stairs||312||59.4|
|Difficulty dressing or bathing||135||25.7|
|Difficulty running errands||177||33.7|
|No reported impairment||84||16.0|
|Needs physical assistance from others||119||22.7|
|Uses a walker, cane, crutch, or brace||175||33.3|
|Manual or power wheelchair users||52||9.9|
|No equipment or assistance needed||113||21.5|