Stress and women with physical disabilities: Identifying correlates

Rosemary B. Hughes, Heather B. Taylor, Susan Robinson-Whelen, Margaret A. Nosek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We examined correlates of perceived stress among women with physical disabilities to identify variables that may be amenable to change through psychosocial interventions. The method for this investigation involved a correlational analysis of data gathered from 415 women living with physical disabilities on abuse and other health concerns. The women were recruited in outpatient clinics where they each participated in a face-to-face, semistructured interview. Based on multiple regression analyses, the findings indicate that demographic (age, income) and disability (mobility, level of assistance needed) variables explained a small but significant proportion of the variance in perceived stress. Variables judged to be potentially amenable to change through psychosocial interventions (i.e., social support, pain interference, and abuse) contributed significantly to stress over and above the demographic and disability variables. Women with physical disabilities reported high levels of perceived stress. Particularly at high risk are women who are limited by pain, lack social support, and/or have experience with recent abuse. Stress management interventions for this population of women should consider incorporating components addressing pain, social support, and abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (RO4/CCR614142). We extend appreciation to the patients and medical staff of the various outpatient clinics for the privilege of working with them. We acknowledge Paul Swank, PhD, for his contribution as statistician. We thank the staff members of the Center for Research on Women with Disabilities and many others for their dedication and support of the overall project that the research findings reported in this article, including Martha Mendez, Graciela Wright, Kathy Fire, and Miriam Espitia.

FundersFunder number
Centers for Disease Control and PreventionRO4/CCR614142


    • Perceived stress
    • Stress
    • Women with physical disabilities


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