Perceptions of the impact of disability and impairment on health, quality of life and capability

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OBJECTIVE: The impact of impairment and disability on quality of life can be considerable, however advances in assistive technology can help to optimise physical and psychosocial functioning. Little is known about how impairment and subsequent adaptation influences health state perceptions, particularly amongst the general public. The aim of this pilot project was to examine student perceptions of what it would be like to live with a physical or sensory impairment, and how adaptation influences health and quality of life.

RESULTS: In total 151 undergraduate Psychology students were invited to participate in a questionnaire-based survey. Ethical approval was granted by an academic ethics committee. The survey included a range of validated outcome measures relating to illness perceptions and quality of life, including the B-IPQ, EQ-5D-3L and ICECAP-O. Surveys were divided into two parts: firstly, participants were asked to self-report their own health; and secondly participants were asked to estimate the health impacts of a range of hypothetical states of impairment. Severe adapted impairments were perceived to have less impact on health status than moderate un-adapted impairments. Hearing impairment was perceived to have the least impact on health status, whilst mobility impairment was perceived to have the largest impact on health status.


  • Activities of Daily Living, Adaptation, Psychological, Disabled Persons/psychology, Female, Health Status, Healthy Volunteers, Hearing Loss/psychology, Humans, Imagination, Male, Mobility Limitation, Pilot Projects, Quality of Life/psychology, Self Report, Students, Surveys and Questionnaires, Vision Disorders/psychology, Young Adult
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287
Number of pages6
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2019

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