Adults With Disabilities at Increased Risk of Violence

Prevalence of any recent violence as well as risk of violence higher in those with mental illness

TUESDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with disabilities face an increased risk of violence, with an even higher risk evident for those with mental illness, according to a review published online Feb. 28 in The Lancet.

Karen Hughes, Ph.D., from Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published from 1990 to 2010 to quantify violence against adults with disabilities. Twenty-six studies which reported violence occurring within the 12 months before the study were eligible for inclusion and comprised data on 21,557 individuals with disabilities. A meta-analysis of the prevalence of violence included 21 studies, and 10 were included in a meta-analysis of the risk of violence.

The researchers found that the pooled prevalence of recent violence (physical, sexual, or intimate partner) was 24.3 percent in those with mental illness, 6.1 percent in those with intellectual impairments, and 3.2 percent in those with non-specific impairments; considerable heterogeneity was identified in most estimates of prevalence. Large uncertainty surrounded pooled risk estimates. Compared with non-disabled individuals, the pooled crude odds ratio for the risk of violence in the disabled was 1.50 for all studies combined, 3.86 for those with mental illness, 1.60 for those with intellectual impairments, and 1.31 for those with non-specific impairments.

"Adults with disabilities are at a higher risk of violence than are non-disabled adults, and those with mental illnesses could be particularly vulnerable," the authors write.

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