Prevalence And Domains Of Disability Within And Outside Appalachian North Carolina: 2013–2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Erin Bouldin, Assistant Professor, PhD (Creator)
Adam Hege PhD, Assistant Professor (Contributor)
Jennifer Howard, Assistant Professor, PhD (Contributor)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Background: The health and social conditions of the Appalachian region generally are poorer than in the US overall, and this gap is widening, suggesting disability may be higher in Appalachia. Objective: To describe the prevalence of disability overall and by domain in Appalachian and non-Appalachian regions in North Carolina (NC) and describe the characteristics of people with and without disability in each region. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using data from the NC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 2013 to 2016 which assessed disability in five domains: vision, cognitive, mobility, self-care, and independent living. We calculated weighted proportions and age- and sex-adjusted prevalence using direct standardization to the 2010 Census. Results: The prevalence of disability in Appalachian NC was significantly higher than in non-Appalachian NC after standardizing by age and sex (26.6% in Appalachia, 24.1% outside Appalachia, p < 0.001). In both regions, mobility disability was most common and self-care disability was least common. People within Appalachia more frequently reported disability in all domains compared to people outside Appalachia. Conclusions: More than one in four adults in Appalachian North Carolina experience disability in at least one domain and one in eight experiences disability in multiple domains. The high prevalence of disability should be considered when planning programs and services across the spectrum of public health. Understanding common disability domains present in populations can inform public health agencies and service providers and help them develop programs and messaging that meet the needs of residents in Appalachia and are accessible to people with disabilities.

Additional Information

Bouldin ED et al. (2019). Prevalence and domains of disability within and outside Appalachian North Carolina: 2013-2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Disability and Health Journal, Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2019
Disability, Appalachia, Function, Rural, Surveillance

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