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New Report: Changes in Disability Status and Survey Attrition for Youth

by User Not Found | Dec 24, 2014



December 23, 2014
David R. Mann & Todd Honeycutt, Mathematica Policy Research

Disability status—experiencing a functional limitation caused by a health condition—is dynamic throughout the life cycle, even during adolescence and young adulthood. Changes in disability status early in the life cycle may have especially strong ties to future outcomes such as educational attainment and employment. We used data from the 1997 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to better understand these dynamics, examining how disability status evolves during adolescence and young adulthood and how changes in disability status are related to survey non-response and attrition. The dynamics of disability are evident in our data: the proportion of sample members who reported having a disability for any interview increased from about 12 percent during the initial interview (when sample members were 12 to 17 years old) to almost 25 percent 13 years later. Multivariate analysis revealed that women are more likely than men to report changes in health condition or disability status. Those with mild disabilities were relatively less likely than those without or with severe disabilities to experience changes in disability status. Somewhat surprisingly, a survival analysis of survey participation outcomes found limited correlation between health conditions, disability status, and either missing a survey interview for the first time or permanently leaving the survey sample.

Funding for this study was provided by the Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC) at the University of New Hampshire, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) (Grant No: H133B100015). The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government (Edgar, 75.620 (b)).

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