What happens to people before and after disability? Focusing effects, lead effects, and adaptation in different areas of life

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 2009


This paper addresses the question of when and to what extent different areas of a person’s life are affected by mild and severe disability. We use a nationally representative longitudinal dataset of British individuals to examine what happens to seven different areas of life - health, income, housing, partner, social life, amount of leisure time, and use of leisure time - before and after disability. We found that although there is some evidence of lead effects to becoming disabled in more than one aspects of life, the strongest lead effects are found in the health domain. Disability has a negative impact on satisfactions with income, social life, and use of leisure time, but is positively associated with the levels of satisfaction with amount of leisure time. Adaptation takes place in almost all of the affected life domains for both disabled groups, but is often incomplete for the severely disabled. Finally, this paper proposes a two-layer model to study leads and lags in life satisfaction to different life events.

Published in

Social Science and Medicine


Volume: 69 (12):1834-1844





Previously 'In press, corrected proof' 14 Oct. 2009

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