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Nearly two-thirds of disabled adults say COVID-19-related concerns affecting their well-being

24 April 2020

A new Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey finds that nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of disabled adults say COVID-19-related concerns are affecting their well-being.

The main reasons cited by disabled adults for their well-being concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic were feeling worried about the future and being stressed, anxious or bored.

The ONS survey reports indicators from its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 27 March 2020 to 13 April 2020 on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on disabled people in Great Britain.

Disabled adults were significantly more likely than non-disabled adults to report spending too much time alone. Around a third (35%) of disabled adults reported this compared with around a fifth (19.9%) of non-disabled adults.

Almost 1 in 10 (8.3%) adults with a disability reported often or always feeling lonely in the last seven days compared with less than 1 in 20 (3.6%) non-disabled adults.

That disabled adults are more likely to report having self-isolated because of COVID-19 (52.7%), compared with non-disabled adults (32.3%), is likely to be contributing to these observed trends.

Among other ONS findings are that:

  • almost half (45.1%) of disabled adults, compared with around a third (30.2%) of non-disabled adults, reported being very worried about the effect the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on their life. Nearly 9 in 10 disabled adults (86.3%) reported they are very worried or somewhat worried;
  • disabled adults were significantly more likely than non-disabled adults to report spending too much time alone; around a third (35.0%) of disabled adults reported this compared to a fifth (19.9%) of non-disabled adults;
  • finding a way to stay in touch with friends and family remotely is the most popular action that is helping people cope while staying at home; however, spending time with members of their household was a less frequent form of coping for disabled (41.9%) than non-disabled adults (63.5%);
  • almost 8 in 10 (77.7%) disabled adults said they thought people were doing more to help others since the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • disabled adults are as active in supporting their communities as non-disabled adults; in the past seven days, a similar proportion of disabled (64.9%) and non-disabled adults (63.1%) said they had checked on neighbours who might need help at least once.

Evan Odell DR UK’s Researcher said:

“We welcome the Office for National Statistics’ work to identify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people, and this analysis is a good first step.

We encourage the ONS to explore ways to survey more disabled people, making it possible to analyse how different impairment groups are being impacted by the pandemic, and variations by region, age and ethnicity.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the ONS was working correct the lack of data on disabled people in national statistics and other data sources, and we are glad Coronavirus has not stopped this much needed work.”

The ONS survey Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain is available from ons.gov.uk.