Prevalence of physical health issues of youth with school identified disabilities in residential settings: A brief report

Alexandra L. Trout, Matthew C. Lambert, Timothy D. Nelson, Michael H. Epstein, Ronald W. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background Each year a number of youth with a school identified disability are placed in residential care. It has been well documented that these youth enter with elevated rates of behavioral, emotional, educational, mental health, and familial challenges. However, the physical and medical condition of these youth remains unstudied.

Objective The purpose of the present study was to determine the prevalence of health and medical problems among a group of youth with school identified disabilities at entrance to a residential care center.

Methods Archival medical, demographic, and disability status data were obtained for 346 youth served in a large residential care center in the Midwest. Chi-square and correlation tests, and relative risk ratio estimates, were used to evaluate the relationship between medical condition and hypothesized correlates.

Results Findings revealed that over one-third of the sample had at least one medical condition, with asthma being the most prevalent (15.6%). Rates of medical condition differed by disability type and prevalence of asthma differed by race/ethnicity.

Conclusions Youth with a school identified disability in care demonstrate health care needs that need to be addressed while in care and following community reintegration. Intervention programs and targeted curriculum are needed to teach youth how to manage their health specific needs and how to independently navigate the health care system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-122
Number of pages5
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Health
  • Residential care
  • Special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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