Scottish Longitudinal Study
Development & Support Unit

Current Projects

Project Title:

Living circumstances and health of people with learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders

Project Number:

2015_014

Researchers:

Myrthe Jacobs (University of Glasgow)
Sally-Ann Cooper (University of Glasgow)
Ewelina Rydzewska (University of Glasgow)

Start Date:

17 December 2015

Summary:

Background

People with learning disabilities experience poorer physical and mental health than people without learning disabilities (Emerson, 2007), and are thought to die at an earlier age. The circumstances in which people live may have an important relation to health. For example, people with learning disabilities are at much greater risk of living in poverty than the general population (Emerson, 2007). The number of people living in the same home and overcrowding may be related to the illnesses people with learning disabilities experience, given that many live in group settings (Martínez-Leal et al., 2011). A higher proportion of people with learning disabilities live in deprived neighbourhoods than do the general population, and the extent of rurality of neighbourhoods may affect access to healthcare and consequent health (Cooper et al., 2011; Nicholson & Cooper, 2011, 2013). Additionally, there may be a link between residency type, migration, and health (Woodman et al., 2014). Adults with learning disability living with relatives have been found to have better overall health than adults living in community settings, and healthier adults tended to remain in the family home longer and had a smaller likelihood of moving (Woodman et al., 2014).

It has also been suggested that people with autism spectrum disorder die prematurely, but little evidence is available (Gillberg et al., 2010). Little is known about the living circumstances of people with autism spectrum disorder in Scotland.

Aims

The first aim is to compare (changes in) living circumstances of people with learning disabilities and people with autism spectrum disorders to the general population.

  • How do people with learning disabilities and/or autism differ from the general population in terms of: the number of migrations and the distance of moves, residence type, living conditions, SIMD?
  • How have the overall living circumstances of people with learning disabilities and/or autism changed since 1991, compared with the general population?

The second aim is to assess the association between living circumstance, self-rated health and mental ill-health in people with learning disabilities and people with autism spectrum disorders.

  • How do living conditions, residence type, and migrations over time relate to health outcomes?

The third aim is to compare mortality of people with learning disabilities and people with autism spectrum disorders to the general population in terms of cause of death and age at death, and to assess the association of living circumstances, economic activity, and health with mortality.

  • What is the proportion of people who died since the 2011 Census within the group of people with learning disabilities, with autism, compared with the general population?
  • How do deaths of people with learning disability and people with autism differ from deaths in the general population e.g. in terms of cause of death, age at death, month of death?
  • How do living conditions, residence type, mental ill-health and self-reported/rated health over time (1991, 2001, 2011) relate to death?

References:

Cooper, S.-A., McConnachie, A., Allan, L. M., Melville, C., Smiley, E., & Morrison, J. (2011). Neighbourhood deprivation, health inequalities and service access by adults with intellectual disabilities: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 55(3), 313-323.

Emerson, E. (2007). Poverty and people with intellectual disabilities. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 13, 107-113.

Gillberg, C., Billstedt, E., Sundh, V., & Gillberg, I. C. (2010). Mortality in autism: a prospective longitudinal community-based study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(3), 352- 357.

Martínez-Leal, R., Salvador-Carulla, L., Linehan, C., Walsh, P., Weber, G., Van Hove, G., Määttä, T., Azema, B., Haveman, M., Buono, S., Germanavicius, A., van Schrojenstein Lantman-de Valk, H., Tossebro, J., Carmen-Cåra, A., Moravec Berger, D., Perry, J. & Kerr, M. (2011). The impact of living arrangements and deinstitutionalisation in the health status of persons with intellectual disability in Europe. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 55(9), 858-872.

Nicholson, L., & Cooper, S.-A. (2011). Access to healthcare services by people with intellectual disabilities: A rural–urban comparison. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 15(2), 115-130.

Nicholson, L., & Cooper, S.-A. (2013). Social exclusion and people with intellectual disabilities: a rural–urban comparison. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 57(4), 333-346.

Woodman, A. C., Mailick, M. R., Anderson, K. A., & Esbensen, A. J. (2014). Residential transitions among adults with intellectual disability across 20 years. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 119(6), 496-515.

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