Describing and Investigating Trends in Adolescent Disability, 1997-2010: The Role of Low Birth Weight, ADD/ADHD, and Autism

Julia A. Rivera Drew, University of Minnesota

Studies of trends in disability prevalence focus on observed declines in disability prevalence among the population of retirement age or elderly adults, but ignore the continued rise in disability prevalence among U.S. children and adolescents. The goals of this study are to 1) provide new evidence on trends in disability among adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17; and 2) test potential explanations for the observed trends in youth disability. Using a pooled sample of the 1997-2010 National Health Interview Surveys, I first present annual population estimates of disability among adolescents aged 12-17 over the 1997-2010 time period. I then apply methods used to analyze late-life disability trends to decompose adolescent disability trends into the contributions of changes in low birth weight, ADD/ADHD, and autism.

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Presented in Poster Session 5