Self-rated health and quality of life in adults attending regional disability services in Ireland

Máirín C. Boland, M.D., F.F.P.H.M.I., M.R.C.P.I., Leslie Daly, Ph.D., F.F.P.H., Anthony Staines, Ph.D., M.Sc., M.B., F.F.P.H.M.I.

Disability and Health JournalApril 2009 Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 95–103



There is limited background information on self-rated health in people with disability in Ireland. This paper examines self-rated health scores and dimensions of functioning in people attending disability services and compares scores to the general population in Ireland, which has not been done before.


Face-to-face interviews were carried out with 247 adults with intellectual disability and 180 with physical or sensory disability attending regional residential, day activity, or training disability centres in the East Coast Area of Ireland. EuroQol ED-5Q was used to assess five dimensions of functioning and quality of life, supplemented by questions taken from the national population study on general health, mental health, and quality of life.


Clients with intellectual disability scored their quality of life significantly higher than the adult general population. They scored their mental health significantly lower compared with clients with physical/sensory disability. Compared to clients with intellectual disability, and to the general population, clients with physical or sensory disability scored their quality of life significantly lower. They had more problems in all EuroQol ED-5Q dimensions (mobility; self-care; being able to carry out one’s usual activities; pain; and anxiety) than both the general population and clients with intellectual disability.


These results give an insight into self-rated health and quality of life of regional disability services attendees. Findings provide an indicator of health needs and provide a baseline to measure the impact of interventions. Further elucidation of the relationship between functional impairment and quality of life in those with disability is needed. Factors affecting self-rating of health in people with intellectual disabilities need further exploration.