A Structural Analysis of Secondary Conditions Experienced by People With Physical Disabilities

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The goal of preventing secondary conditions experienced by people with a physical disability has emerged as a major item on the public health agenda. A survey measuring 40 secondary conditions was completed by 594 adults who experience a mobility impairment. Two hypotheses were tested. First, it was predicted that primary impairments would predict specific clusters of secondary conditions. Second, it was predicted that certain secondary conditions (e.g., depression) would be endorsed independent of primary impairments. A path model of secondary conditions was specified and cross-validated using both exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic methods. The model developed does not include groupings of secondary conditions around primary impairments. In fact, primary impairments were not predictive of any secondary condition covariation. Results are discussed with respect to their implications for the treatment and prevention of secondary conditions.

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