Health outcome disparities among subgroups of people with disabilities: A scoping review

Maya Rowland, Jana Peterson-Besse, Konrad Dobbertin, Emily S. Walsh, Willi Horner-Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background A growing body of research has found that people with disabilities experience lower health status and an excess burden of disease relative to the general US population. However, the population of people with disabilities is quite diverse. Thus, it is important to understand health differences between subgroups of people with disabilities in order to most effectively target interventions to address disparities. An initial step in this process is reviewing and synthesizing available research addressing these subgroup differences. Objectives To conduct a scoping review of literature to describe recent research activity that has examined health outcome disparities within populations of people with disabilities. Methods We searched for relevant articles in MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL databases. Three staff independently reviewed abstracts according to inclusion criteria. Two authors then independently extracted data from each included article. Results For many of the health outcomes of interest, there was no published literature in relation to key disparity factors (e.g. race, income) within the population of people with disabilities. The health outcomes most frequently examined were diabetes and heart disease. The most frequently examined disparity factors were the type of disabling condition and gender. Conclusions There are significant gaps in available research. Building a body of research that identifies disparities and potentially vulnerable subgroups may improve understanding of the causes of disparities and contribute to efforts to improve quality of life and health outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-150
Number of pages15
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Health status disparities
  • People with disabilities
  • Review
  • Systematic
  • United states

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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