Research Paper Department for Work and Pensions Research Reports 514
Exploring disability, family formation and break-up: reviewing the evidence
This study has sought to explore how far disabled people’s family status (and trajectories over time) appears to be different from that of non-disabled people. Our analysis identifies a small effect of the presence of impairment on family breakdown (divorce, separation) in households which include dependent children. In relation to specific impairment experiences, this effect is significantly increased. Moreover, disabled people are rather less likely to enter into relationships than their non-disabled peers. The presence of child or adult impairment increased the likelihood of a family having experienced living in poverty and this increased in relation to how many years of impairment were reported. The current presence (or not) of disability may not be the most important factor, instead a history of family experiences of disability may have long-lived effects in relation to employment and poverty. The presence of fluctuating and unpredictable impairments may place families at particular economic risk (in relation to poverty and in access to, and maintenance of employment).