Health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic among Canadians living with disabilities
The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on general health has received extensive attention in recent research. However, limited attention has been given to examining the health impacts of the pandemic among people living with disabilities. This study examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on three aspects of health among Canadians living with a disability: (1) perceived physical health, (2) perceived mental health, and (3) unmet healthcare needs during the pandemic. We utilized crowdsourcing data from Statistics Canada’s Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians Living with Long-term Conditions and Disabilities, 2020 Survey. The total sample size for our study was 8,872 and included males and females who were 15 years and older. To examine the health impacts of the pandemic, we calibrated a multivariable logistic regression. We found that respondents living with a disability had higher odds of experiencing negative impacts from the pandemic on their physical and mental health and have more unmet healthcare needs than those without a disability. Youth (15–24 years) living with a disability had 4.11 times higher odds of experiencing poor physical health during the pandemic than older adults (65 years and older) without a disability. Similarly, respondents aged 25-44 years and 45-64 years living with a disability also had higher odds of experiencing poor physical health (5.34 times and 5.68 times respectively) during the pandemic than older adults without a disability. The health impacts of the pandemic among those living with disabilities were found to differ significantly by age cohorts.
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