Social isolation and loneliness are a public health concern because they are associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes and mortality. Social isolation is defined as have few, or no, social connections, and not participating in activities with others. Loneliness is defined as feeling unsatisfied about the amount of social engagement in one’s life.
Before the current pandemic, people with disabilities reported significantly higher rates of social isolation and loneliness than those without disabilities. Inaccessible events and buildings, limited accessible public transportation, social stigma, and lower rates of employment all contribute to these high rates. When restrictions are put in place to help protect people from COVID-19, what happens to these rates?
To learn more about how COVID-19 and public health responses such as stay-at-home orders may contribute to feelings of social isolation and loneliness among people with disabilities, RTC:Rural researchers compared data from two cross-sectional samples collected before and after the first wave of “stay-at-home” orders.
Rural/urban differences in trust in sources and preventative practices
Public health is shaped by community-level action. This is especially important during crises such as COVID-19, where widespread adoption of public health practices is necessary to manage community spread and prevent loss. Consistent information is important for fostering trust and adherence to recommended practices.
RTC:Rural’s newest research brief examines how rural people with disabilities use different types of transportation. These include being a driver, asking others for rides, special transportation services, reduced-fare taxis, and public transportation.
People with disabilities, especially in rural areas, still report transportation as a significant barrier to full inclusion and participation in community life, nearly 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. Understanding how people with disabilities get around is an important first step for improving transportation options.
Using data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey, this research brief explores travel behaviors and characteristics of rural and urban people with disabilities.
While many Americans will suffer in the coming recession, people with disabilities in rural areas are especially vulnerable because they are less likely to have an emergency savings fund, have access to paid leave, or be able to work from home.
“Attending CANAR meetings allows us to meet face to face
with our advisors and reach a broader audience of tribal stakeholders,” said
Ipsen. “Together, we are developing a resource that is appropriate across
tribal vocational rehabilitation programs.”
RTC:Rural researchers Andrew Myers, Dr. Bryce Ward, Dr. Jennifer Wong, and Dr. Craig Ravesloot recently published a paper in the journal Social Science & Medicine titled “Health status changes with transitory disability over time.” Myers is a RTC:Rural Project Director, Dr. Bryce Ward is the RTC:Rural Statistician, and Dr. Ravesloot is RTC:Rural Research Director. Dr. Wong is a former RTC:Rural Research Associate and University of Washington research fellow.
Nearly 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act people with disabilities still report transportation as a significant barrier to employment, health care, and community participation. This is especially true in rural communities where public transit may be inaccessible, unaffordable, inappropriate, or not available. While many unique solutions exist, there is a lack of evidence about how people use them and how they impact the health and well-being of people with disabilities.
To address this lack of knowledge, RTC:Rural is conducting
research about rural transportation options in rural communities across
The Rural Transportation Options project, which will help
build a more complete understanding of how rural people with disabilities use
public and other forms of accessible transportation, is getting ready to begin
a pilot survey. Paper surveys will be available on public buses in Park County,
Montana later this year. There are also options to take the survey online, or
to call in and take it over the phone.
The survey includes questions about what type of
transportation the participant is using for the current trip, the purpose of
their trip, if the trip was scheduled ahead of time, and types of
transportation used in the last 30 days.
“This brief ridership survey will help us: 1) understand how
people use public transit in Park County, MT and 2) shape our survey materials
and procedures for dissemination nationwide,” said Andrew Myers, RTC:Rural
First page of the article “Transitory and Enduring Disability Among Urban and Rural People” in the Journal of Rural Health.
RTC:Rural researchers Dr. Rayna Sage, Dr. Bryce Ward, Andrew Myers, and Dr. Craig Ravesloot recently published an article in the Journal of Rural Health titled “Transitory and Enduring Disability Among Urban and Rural People.” Dr. Sage and Myers are RTC:Rural Project Directors, Dr. Ward is the RTC:Rural Statistician, and Dr. Ravesloot is RTC:Rural Director and Research Advisor.
Part of RTC:Rural’s continued research on the geography and ecology of rural disability (see Ecology of Rural Disability and Geography and Rural Disability), this article examines how disability rates vary by age, gender, and race between rural and urban places. While there has been some recent research on the intersection of disability and rurality, there is a lack of research on disability across the life span in rural places, and few studies include a measure of how people move in and out of disability over time. Continue reading →