Mental Distress Among Adults by Disability Status and Type
Frequent Mental Distress Among Adults, by Disability Status, Disability Type, and Selected Characteristics — United States, 2018
September 11, 2020 - In 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.