Reproductive health of young adults with physical disabilities in the U.S.

Annie Laurie McRee, Abigail A. Haydon, Carolyn Tucker Halpern

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Scopus citations


    Objective: Previous research shows reduced cervical and breast cancer screening among women with physical disabilities. However, other indicators of reproductive health have been largely ignored. We aimed to compare the reproductive health of young adults in the U.S. with and without physical disabilities in a nationally-representative sample. Methods: Data are from 13,819 respondents aged 18-26 who participated in Waves I (1994-1995) and III (2001-2002) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Using logistic regression, we examined associations between physical disability and multiple reproductive health indicators including sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, STI diagnosis, receipt of a gynecologic exam, and cervical cancer screening. Analyses were stratified by sex and adjusted for the complex study design. Results: We identified 5.8% of respondents as having a physical disability. In multivariate analyses, females with physical disabilities had lower odds of having a Pap smear in the past 12 months than females without disabilities (OR. = 0.77; 95% CI: 0.61, 0.97). Physical disability was not associated with other reproductive health indicators among females or males. Conclusion: We found few differences in examined reproductive health indicators of young adults with and without physical disabilities, but findings suggest differences in some screening services that merit additional study.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)502-504
    Number of pages3
    JournalPreventive Medicine
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 2010


    • Papanicolau smear
    • Physical disability
    • Reproductive health
    • Sexually transmitted diseases

    PubMed: MeSH publication types

    • Journal Article
    • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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