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The wellbeing of women and men with and without disabilities: evidence from cross-sectional national surveys in 27 low- and middle-income countries

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/02/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Quality of Life Research
Issue number2
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)357-371
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date22/10/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: Little is known about disability-related inequities in personal wellbeing (PWB) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Method: Secondary analysis of data collected in Round 6 of UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) undertaken in 27 LMICs (n = 296,693 women, 66,557 men). Data were aggregated across countries by mixed effects multi-level modelling and meta-analysis. Results: Women and men with disabilities were less likely than their non-disabled peers to report being happy and to be satisfied with their life. These differences were evident in all countries for women and in 18 of 22 countries for men. Aggregated data indicated that: (1) women with disabilities were 14–15% less likely to be happy and 17% less likely to be satisfied with their lives; (2) men with disabilities were 15–17% less likely to be happy and 17–19% less likely to be satisfied with their lives; (3) disability-related inequalities in personal wellbeing were reduced by 22–26% for women and 11–22% for men by adjusting for differences in living conditions. Conclusions: Future releases of MICS data could prove a valuable resource in monitoring country-level progress to realising Sustainable Development Goal 3 and the extent to which progress is equitable between women and men and between people with/without disabilities. Results also suggest that a significant proportion of the disability-related inequities in wellbeing may be accounted for by modifiable differences in their living conditions and life experiences.