Disability discrimination and well-being in the United Kingdom: a prospective cohort study

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

BMJ Open


Ruth A. Hackett, Andrew Steptoe, Raymond P. Lang and Sarah E. Jackson

Publication date


Objectives: Disability discrimination is linked with poorer well-being cross-sectionally. The aim of this study was to explore prospective associations between disability discrimination and well-being.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: The United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study.
Participants: Data were from 871 individuals with a self-reported physical, cognitive or sensory disability.
Primary outcome measures: Depression was assessed in 2009/10. Psychological distress, mental functioning, life satisfaction and self-rated health were assessed in 2009/10 and 2013/14.
Results: Data were analysed using linear and logistic regression with adjustment for age, sex, household income, education, ethnicity and impairment category. Perceived disability discrimination was reported by 117 (13.4%) participants. Cross-sectionally, discrimination was associated with depression (OR=5.40, 95% CI 3.25 to 8.97) fair/poor self-rated health (OR=2.05; 95% CI 1.19 to 3.51), greater psychological distress (B=3.28, 95% CI 2.41 to 4.14), poorer mental functioning (B=−7.35; 95% CI −9.70 to −5.02) and life satisfaction (B=−1.27, 95% CI −1.66 to −0.87). Prospectively, discrimination was associated with increased psychological distress (B=2.88, 95% CI 1.39 to 4.36) and poorer mental functioning (B=−5.12; 95% CI −8.91 to −1.34), adjusting for baseline scores.
Conclusions: Perceived disability-related discrimination is linked with poorer well-being. These findings underscore the need for interventions to combat disability discrimination.








Disability, Well Being, Health and Social Psychology


Open Access; © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/; This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.