General health status in young people with intellectual disabilities with and without Down syndrome in, and transitioning from, special education: findings from the National Longitudinal Transitions Study‐2

Rydzewska, E. , Fleming, M. , Mackay, D. , Young-Southward, G., Blacher, J., Bolourian, Y., Widaman, K. and Cooper, S.-A. (2020) General health status in young people with intellectual disabilities with and without Down syndrome in, and transitioning from, special education: findings from the National Longitudinal Transitions Study‐2. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, (doi: 10.1111/jir.12781) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Background: There has been little prior investigation of the general health of young people with intellectual disabilities across transition, nor separately for youth with intellectual disabilities with or without Down syndrome, despite general health being a strong predictor of subsequent health service use, hospital admissions and mortality in the general population. We aimed to investigate general health status in youth with intellectual disabilities with and without Down syndrome over the transitional period and quantify the extent to which personal characteristics, parental relationship and household income are associated with general health status. Methods: The National Longitudinal Transitions Study‐2 includes a nationally representative sample of youth receiving special education services aged 13–17 years at wave 1, followed up over 10 years in five waves of data collection. Data on general health status of youth with intellectual disabilities with and without Down syndrome were obtained from parent reports. We summarised overall demographics and general health status and plotted general health status for those who had health data available for all five waves. We then used random‐effects ordered logistic regression to investigate whether wave of data collection, age, sex, Down syndrome, ethnicity, parental relationship status and household income are associated with general health status. Results: At wave 1, data on intellectual disabilities were available on 9008/9576 (94.1%) young people, and 871/9008 (9.7%) of them had intellectual disabilities, of whom 125/871 (14.4%) had Down syndrome. Youth with intellectual disabilities with or without Down syndrome had low rates of excellent or very good health. Across waves 1–5, there was a shallow gradient in the proportion of youth with intellectual disabilities reporting excellent/very good health, from 57.7% at 13–17 years to 52.6% at 21–25 years, being more marked for those without Down syndrome (57.8% at 13–17 years to 51.8% at 21–25 years). However, contrary to our expectations, an ordinal measure of general health status did not decline over this transitional period and did not differ between youth with and without Down syndrome. There was a gradient with higher income associated with better health, significantly so over $50 001 (odds ratio = 0.559, 95% confidence interval 0.366–0.854). Poorer health was experienced by youth with Hispanic, Latino or Spanish ethnicity (odds ratio = 1.790, 95% confidence interval 1.051–3.048). Female sex and parental relationship status were not associated with health status. Conclusions: Young people with intellectual disabilities have bad health, and require support across all ages, including transition. Schools, teachers and staff in transitional services should consider health, and health care and support during transitional planning due to change in service provision and be aware of ethnicity and the stressful effects of low household income. This is important as interventions based on provision of greater support can prevent adverse consequences.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Young-Southward, Ms Genevieve and Mackay, Professor Daniel and Fleming, Dr Michael and Rydzewska, Dr Ewelina and Cooper, Professor Sally-Ann
Authors: Rydzewska, E., Fleming, M., Mackay, D., Young-Southward, G., Blacher, J., Bolourian, Y., Widaman, K., and Cooper, S.-A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0964-2633
ISSN (Online):1365-2788
Published Online:12 October 2020

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