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

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

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33 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035714
Pages (from-to)e035714
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2020


  • disability, discrimination
  • mental health
  • prejudice
  • stigma
  • well-being


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