THE HEALTH OF YOUNG ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES IN THE UNITED STATES: THE COLLECTIVE ROLES OF RISK FACTORS IN SOCIAL ECOLOGIC FRAMEWORK
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Background: Over the last few decades, the prevalence of young adults with disabilities (YAD) has steadily risen as a result of advances in medicine, clinical treatment, and biomedical technologythat enhanced their survival into adulthood. Despite investments in services, family supports, and insurance, they experience poor health status and barriers to successful transition into adulthood. Objectives: We investigated the collective roles of multi-faceted factors at intrapersonal, interpersonal and community levels within the social ecological framework on health related outcome including self-rated health (SRH) of YAD. The three specific aims are: 1) to examine sociodemographic differences and health insurance coverage in adolescence; 2) to investigate the role of social skills in relationships with family and peers developed in adolescence; and 3) to collectively explore the association of sociodemographic characteristics, social skills, and community participation in adolescence on SRH. Methods: Using longitudinal data (N=5,020) from the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS2), we conducted multivariate logistic regression analyses to understand the association between insurance status as well as social skills in adolescence and YAD’s health related outcomes. Structural equation modeling (SEM) assessed the confluence of multi-faceted factors from the social ecological model that link to health in early adulthood. Results: Compared with YAD who had private insurance, YAD who had public health insurance in adolescence are at higher odds of experiencing poorer health related outcomes in self-rated health [adjusted odds ratio (aOR=2.89, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.16, 7.23), problems with health (aOR=2.60, 95%CI: 1.26, 5.35), and missing social activities due to health problems (aOR=2.86, 95%CI: 1.39, 5.85). At the interpersonal level, overall social skills developed through relationship with family and peers in adolescence do not appear to have association with health related outcomes in early adulthood. Finally, at the community level, community participation in adolescence does not have an association with SRH in early adulthood. Conclusions: Having public health insurance coverage does not equate to good health. YAD need additional supports to achieve positive health outcomes. The findings in social skills and community participation suggest other potential factors may be at play for health related outcomes for YAD and the need for further investigation.