Mental Distress Among Adults by Disability Status and Type

Robyn A. Cree, Catherine A. Okoro, Matthew M. Zack, Eric Carbone, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Publication Date: Sep 16, 2020

Frequent Mental Distress Among Adults, by Disability Status, Disability Type, and Selected Characteristics — United States, 2018

September 11, 2020In the United States, an estimated 17.4 million adults with disabilities experience frequent mental distress, 4.6 times more often than adults without disabilities. Adults with disabilities are also more likely to live below the federal poverty level – another disadvantaged demographic regarding mental health. Adults living below the federal poverty level report mental distress 70% more often than those in higher income households.

In one six-year longitudinal study, increases in social support, such as being married or employed, were associated with decreases in depressive symptoms among adults with physical disabilities. The study suggests that while adults with disabilities have fewer opportunities for high-quality social engagement due to physical limitations, programs that increase social connectedness may reduce the large disparity in mental distress between adults with and without disabilities.


Read the full article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Rurality and COVID-19 can increase feelings of social isolation and loneliness, particularly for those with physical disabilities. View slide decks and webinar recordings on these topics.