A population-based profile of adult Canadians living with participation and activity limitations

Goodridge, Donna; Lawson, Josh; Marciniuk, Darcy; Rennie, Donna
September 2011
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;9/20/2011, Vol. 183 Issue 13, pE1017
Academic Journal
Background: Currently, one out of every seven Canadians is affected by limitations to their participation and activity. This study describes the self-reported main causes of these limitations in a national sample. Methods: The 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey was a two-phase stratified survey based on filter questions posed in the 2006 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada. Respondents to the survey represent 5 185 980 Canadian adults with activity and participation limitations. We used these data to develop a profile of our population of interest: adult Canadians with activity and participation limitations. Associations between demographic variables and self-reported causes of activity and participation limitations were assessed using multiple logistic regression. Results: One quarter of participants did not attribute their disability to any medical cause. The most prevalent medical conditions to which disabilities were attributed were musculoskeletal (46.1%), cardio/cerebrovascular (12.3%), mental health (8.4%), neurologic (6.0%), endocrine (6.0%) and respiratory (4.5%) conditions. Significant associations were noted between sociodemographic variables and participants' attributions of medical conditions as cause of disability. Multiple logistic regression with bootstrapping showed that people who reported a medical cause for their limitation were more likely (p < 0.05) to be female, widowed, 40 years of age or older, born in Canada or white and were less likely (p < 0.05) to be in the highest income category or to be employed (i.e., to work more than 0 h/w). Interpretation: Most people living with activity and participation limitations report having a musculoskeletal disorder. However, a significant proportion of respondants did not attribute their limitations to a medical cause.


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