Disability Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults: Disparities in Prevalence and Risk

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Abstract

Objectives

We used population-based data to comprehensively examine disability among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults.

Methods

We estimated prevalence of disability and its covariates and compared by sexual orientation by utilizing data from the Washington State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n = 82 531) collected in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009. We used multivariate logistic regression to examine the relationship between disability and sexual orientation, after we controlled for covariates of disability.

Results

Findings indicated that the prevalence of disability is higher among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults compared with their heterosexual counterparts; lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults with disabilities are significantly younger than heterosexual adults with disabilities. Higher disability prevalence among lesbians and among bisexual women and men remained significant after we controlled for covariates of disability.

Conclusions

Higher rates of disability among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are of major concern. Efforts are needed to prevent, delay, and reduce disabilities as well as to improve the quality of life for lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults with disabilities. Future prevention and intervention efforts need to address the unique concerns of these groups.

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