Research Article  |   August 2018
Health Impact of Participation for Vulnerable Youth With Disabilities
Author Affiliations
  • Kristin L. Berg, AM, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, School of Health Sciences, University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls; kristin.l.berg@usd.edu
  • Jonathon Medrano, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Training Associate, Center for Disabilities, University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Sioux Falls
  • Kruti Acharya, MD, is Assistant Professor and LEND Director, Department of Disability and Human Development and Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Amy Lynch, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Michael E. Msall, MD, is Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, University of Chicago Medicine, Comer Children’s Hospital, and Kennedy Research Center on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Chicago, IL
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Mental Health / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Special Issue: Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 2018
Health Impact of Participation for Vulnerable Youth With Disabilities
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2018, Vol. 72, 7205195040p1-7205195040p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.023622
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2018, Vol. 72, 7205195040p1-7205195040p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.023622
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We investigated the mental health impact of participation for youth with disabilities (YWD) in the child welfare system who had experienced victimization in the previous year.

METHOD. Nationally representative data were obtained from the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. Our sample consisted of 247 YWD ages 11–17 yr. Multivariable probit regression analysis and a robust variance estimator were used to test the relationships among disability status, participation, and clinical depression.

RESULTS. The probability of reporting clinical depression was 4 times higher for victimized YWD who reported lower breadth of participation than for victimized YWD who reported higher breadth of participation (6% vs. 26%; p = .03).

CONCLUSION. Occupational therapy aimed at increasing opportunities for engagement in activities may enhance the mental health of the most vulnerable YWD. Participation in meaningful activities can improve both overall health and transition to independence for vulnerable YWD.