Objective: To compare the self-perceived quality of life (QoL) of adolescents with and without disabilities.
Methods: A school-based survey was conducted with 2801 7th to 12th grade students in a rural area of the United States. The Youth Quality of Life Instrument-Surveillance Module and the Youth Quality of Life Group-Disability Screener were completed.
Results: Twenty-one percent of all students surveyed reported having one or more physical, emotional, or learning disabilities. Adolescents with disabilities reported lower QoL than adolescent without disabilities. However, self-rated health, depressive symptoms, and contextual variables were significant covariates in the relationship between disability and QoL.
Conclusion: These findings suggest channels to improve the QoL of adolescents with disabilities. Specifically, reducing social and environmental barriers to promote inclusion of adolescents with disabilities in school, family, and community activities is one practical avenue for reducing disparities in QoL.