Volume 5, Issue 3, May 2010: Dual Status: Racial and Ethnic Minorities, and Disability

In this edition of reSearch we explore the dual status of individuals with disabilities who are also members of racial or ethnic minority groups. Each person’s experience of disability is shaped by their culture and community. Minorities with disabilities face a range of issues relating to access, health, and independence. As members of a minority group they experience barriers of a traditionally underserved community, and as individuals with disabilities they experience additional barriers within their own communities. Minorities with disabilities face higher unemployment and poverty rates, as well as less access to services, than their non-minority counterparts. Wright and Leung (1993) present the National Council on Disability findings on minorities with disabilities in their report to the President and Congress stating that “As a group, [they] are more at risk, have fewer personal and family resources, have less knowledge and understanding of externally available resources, and fare less well socioeconomically than do minorities without disabilities” (p. 17).

Historically the disability rights movement has modeled itself on the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Ironically, disability studies literature and disability research have traditionally focused on the “white” experience and neglected the unique issues of minorities with disabilities. According to Wright and Leung (1993) the neglect of minorities with disabilities is a result of the minority population unique needs “related to survival and elimination of discrimination and racism [and] disability issues affecting minorities [having] not been a priority” (p. 27). Similarly, the disability community has been focused on its unique needs and general issues such as “access to health insurance, personal assistance services, [and] assistive technology” without emphasis on the varied racial, ethnic, and cultural differences within the disability community (p. 27).

Government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created programs and resource centers to assist individuals with disabilities and provide an ethnographic understanding of disability across race, ethnicity, and culture. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), of the U.S. Department of Education, funds numerous research projects on minorities with disabilities focusing on disparities, employment, education, socioeconomic status, and more. The Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC), a project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides health-related information for and about racial and ethnic minorities with and without disabilities.

This edition of reSearch provides a “snapshot” of research on racial/ethnic minorities with disabilities. This “snapshot” presents a general overview the dual minority statuses of race/ethnicity and disability. To maintain a historical perspective we did not limit the research results to a specific time frame. Combined search terms for this edition of reSearch included: minorities with disabilities, minority and disabled, minorities and disability, minorities, and ethnic and racial minorities. A listing of over 200 additional descriptor terms between the NARIC, ERIC, CIRRIE, NCRTM, and PubMed databases can be found at the end of this document.

A search of the REHABDATA database resulted in 29 documents published between 1981 and 2009. The ERIC database search resulted in 10 documents published between 1988 and 2008. The CIRRIE and NCRTM database searches resulted in four documents published between 2001 and 2009, and one document published in 1989, respectively. A search of the Campbell Collaboration resulted in one document from 2009. Finally, a search of the PubMed database resulted in seven documents between 1984 and 2010. The complete citations are included in this research brief.


Leung, P., & Wright, T.J. (Eds.). (1993). Meeting the unique needs of minorities with disabilities. A report to the President and the Congress. Washington, D.C.: National Council on Disability.

NIDRR Funded Projects Related to Minorities with Disabilities

In addition to document searches, we searched our NIDRR Program Database to locate grantees/projects related to minorities with disabilities. The search resulted in 25 NIDRR funded projects — 3 currently funded and 22 which have completed their research activities. Project information and their publications are offered as additional resources for our patrons.

Center on Health Outcomes Research and Capacity Building for Underserved Populations with SCI and TBI
Project Number: H133A080064

Phone: 843/792-7051
www.musc.edu/chp/sciorg, www.sciandtbiresearch.blogspot.com

Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE-2)
Project Number: H133A050008
Email: ub-cirrie@buffalo.edu

Health Care Disparities in Access and Utilization among Individuals with Disabilities
Project Number: H133G090133
Email: nanmille@umbc.edu
Phone: 410/455-3889

The following projects has completed their research activities:

Access to Rehabilitation and Empowerment Opportunities for Minority Persons with Disabilities
Project Number: H133B000903
Email: mross@howard.edu
Phone: 202/865-8140

Black-White Disparities in Stroke Rehabilitation
Project Number: H133G050153
Phone: 202/877-1425

Center for Minority Training and Capacity Building for Disabilities Research
Project Number: H133A990024
Email: ieepps@yahoo.com, dksimmons@pdq.net
Phone: 713/313-7753

Center for Strategic Capacity Building on Minorities with Disabilities Research
Project Number: H133A040007
Email: fabricio@uic.edu

Developing the Capacity of Minority Communities to Promote the Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Project Number: H133G980074
Email: fabricio@uic.edu, brigidah@uic.edu
Phone: 312/996-6824

Developing a Rehabilitation Service Delivery Model for Minority Farmers with Disabilities
Project Number: H133G000192
Email: mwachofi_a@vx4500.uapb.edu
Phone: 870/575-7143

Disability among Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Project Number: H133F40010
Email: bradsher@ucsfvm.ucsf.edu
Phone: 415/502-5205

Effects of Client Race on Rehabilitation Counselor Perception and Judgment: A Computerized Replication
Project Number: H133F010015
Email: Rosenthald@uwstout.edu
Phone: 715/232-2490

Enhancing Adjustment to Disability and Employment Success among African Americans and Latinos
Project Number: H133G20117
Phone: 202/676-4455

Forging Coalitions: Networking with Traditional Civil Rights Organizations Toward Promoting Minority Leadership and Disability Advocacy
Project Number: H133G50060
Phone: 402/559-6357

Impact of Training and Support Strategies on Employment Outcomes for Persons with Disabilities from Minority Backgrounds
Project Number: H133F990055
Email: espinola@mediaone.net
Phone: 413/586-6050

Minority Outreach Program for Alternative Financing for Assistive Technology
Project Number: H224C010025
Email: vdel@nimbus.temple.edu
Phone: 215/204-0452

Minority Scholar/Champion Research Training Project
Project Number: H133A031704
Phone: 713/313-7225

Model Technology Training Modules for African-American and Hispanics with Low-Incidence Disabilities
Project Number: H236A10017
Phone: 703/524-6686

No Seat at the Table, No Voice in the Chorus: Perspectives of Young Men of Color on Their Disabilities, Identities, and Peer Mentors
This project’s final report is available through NARIC in full-text at www.naric.com/research/rehab/download.cfm?ID=38292
Project Number: H133F010002
Email: brigidah@uic.edu
Phone: 312/996-6824

Psychometric Evaluation of the Family Quality of Life Survey for Minority Families
Project Number: H133F080024
Email: preethy@wayne.edu
Phone: 313/577-8562

Re-Defining Wholeness: Formulating a Minority Group Model of Disability Identity Development
Project Number: H133G990110
Email: cg16@uic.edu
Phone: 312/355-0550

Reducing Risk Factors for Abuse among Low-Income Minority Women with Disabilities
Project Number: H133A60045
Email: mnosek@bcm.tmc.edu

Rehabilitation Research Institute for Underrepresented Populations (RRIUP)
Project Number: H133A031705
Email: kundusubr@aol.com, alodutta1992@aol.com

A Six-Year Longitudinal Study of Community Integration, Subjective Well-Being, and Health after Spinal Cord Injury: Relationship with Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Environmental Factors
Project Number: H133G020218
Email: cokerj@musc.edu
Phone: 843/792-2605

Urban Planning and Education with Latino Communities Regarding the Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Project Number: H133A40032
Email: fabricio@uic.edu
Phone: 312/413-1646

Utilization of Medical and Rehabilitation Services by Hispanic Children with Disabilities Project Number: H133F990027
Email: gannotti@exit3.com
Phone: 203/737-5462

Documents from NARIC’s REHABDATA search listed are listed below:


Hernandez, B. (2009). The disability and employment survey: Assessing employment concerns among people with disabilities and racial/ethnic minorities. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 40(1), 4-13.
NARIC Accession Number: J57071
ABSTRACT: Article describes the development and psychometric evaluation of the Disability and Employment Survey (DES), a 32-item measure constructed to assess concerns of people with disabilities when seeking employment, with attention paid to the concerns of racial and ethnic minorities. The development of the DES was based on a review of the literatures and focus group data from a culturally-diverse sample. The DES was reviewed by a team of disability researchers, service providers, attorneys, and advocates to establish face validity. Two hundred seventy-nine adults completed the DES. Reliability analysis resulted in a Cronbach’s alpha of .91. In addition, exploratory factor analysis indicated that the DES is comprised primarily of 4 factors: (1) job readiness, (2) language, (3) environmental, and (4) health, financial, and familial concerns. These factors accounted for 49.8 percent of the total variance. Employment concerns varied by participants; race/ethnicity, academic attainment, current employment status, prior work history, and monetary beneficiary status.


Balcazar, F., Dimpfl, S., Schiff, R., Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Taylor-Ritzler, T., & Willis, C. (2008). Cultural competence training with organizations serving people with disabilities from diverse cultural backgrounds. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 29(2), 77-91.
NARIC Accession Number: J55576
ABSTRACT: Study describes and examines the outcomes of the cultural competence training approach used by the Center for Capacity Building on Minorities with Disabilities Research with agencies that serve people with disabilities from different cultural backgrounds. The impact of the training on participants’ individual levels of cultural knowledge, physical environment, attitudes, values, and communication styles, as well as the agencies’ ability to set, pursue, and attain organizational goals related to cultural competence were examined. A total of 287 staff members representing 84 organizations completed individual-level assessment instruments. In addition, 43 organizations elected to receive follow-along support related to organizational cultural competence goals. Results indicated that participants experienced significant improvements in cultural knowledge, physical environments, values, attitudes and communication styles following training. In addition, after six months of follow-along support, participants were actively pursuing with progress or had achieved the majority of the cultural competence goals they set during training.

Balcazar, F.E., Garcia-Iriarte, E., Suarez-Balcazar, Y., & Taylor-Ritzler, T. (2008). Conducting disability research with people from diverse ethnic groups: Challenges and opportunities. Journal of Rehabilitation, 74(1), 4-11.
NARIC Accession Number: J54487
ABSTRACT: This study identified the challenges and opportunities experienced by disability researchers in their efforts to engage people with disabilities from diverse ethnic and racial groups in outreach, research, and dissemination activities. A survey was completed by 79 researchers funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The majority of respondents (72 percent) conducted research with people with disabilities from diverse backgrounds, including African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. NIDRR researchers reported that the most significant challenges in the area of outreach were those related to recruiting and motivating people from diverse backgrounds with disabilities to participate in research. The most significant challenges for conducting research were finding research protocols, surveys, and questionnaires developed or adapted for minorities with disabilities and recruiting research team members who are ethnic minorities or ethnic minorities with disabilities. In terms of dissemination, the most significant challenge was to disseminate findings in a language other than English.


Lohrmann, Sharon (ed.). (2007). A call to action: Supporting people of color with disabilities. TASH Connections, 33(7/8), 1-40.
NARIC Accession Number: R08871
ABSTRACT: Articles in this issue focus on people with disabilities who are also of minority status. Topics include: a public health perspective on racial and ethnic minorities with intellectual disabilities; the anatomy of litigating to ensure African American students with disabilities an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment; and effective service delivery for linguistically and culturally diverse families.


Alston, R.J., Harley, D.A., & Middleton, R. (2006). The role of rehabilitation in achieving social justice for minorities with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 24(3), 129-136.
NARIC Accession Number: J51328
ABSTRACT: Article examines the assumptions of social justice in relation to the fundamental goals of rehabilitation. Discussion focuses on common principles inherent to both philosophies, such as protection of human rights and promotion of equity. Special attention is given to the interaction between social justice and the rehabilitation experience for minorities with disabilities.

Balcazar, F., Hernandez, B., Hidalgo, M.A., Keys, C., & Rosen, J. (2006). Taking it to the streets: Ethnic minorities with disabilities seek community inclusion. Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, 37(3), 13-25.
NARIC Accession Number: J51460
ABSTRACT: This participatory action research project was conducted to increase the physical accessibility of community settings by engaging ethnic minorities with disabilities in promoting change. African American and Latino adults with disabilities attended a one-day workshop to learn effective ways to enforce compliance with the public accommodations provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. After the training, participants conducted accessibility surveys in businesses in their own neighborhoods, and provided face-to-face feedback to the owners and managers. Six months later, they conducted reassessments of the businesses to determine whether changes had been made. Results indicated that significant changes were made to improve the accessibility of entrances, aisles, and restrooms in those businesses.


Hendershot, G.E. (2005). Statistical analyses based on the national health interview survey on disability: A bibliography and summary of findings.
NARIC Accession Number: O16115
Available in full-text at www.naric.com/research/rehab/download.cfm?ID=100358
ABSTRACT: Report compiles a bibliography of all publications that were based on data from the 1994-1995 National Health Interview Survey on Disability and presents an analysis of key findings. The findings are grouped into the following categories: (1) methods; (2) assistive technology and personal assistance services; (3) policy issues: cost, employment, and health care; (4) populations of special interest: children, women, and minorities; (5) types of disability: mobility, sensory, mental, mental retardation/developmental disability; and (6) out-of-scope. Within each category, the key findings are followed by brief paragraphs that identify the source of the finding and comment on the finding.


Carey, A.C., DelSordo, V., & Goldman, A. (2004). Assistive technology for all: Access to alternative financing for minority populations. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 14(4), 194-203.
NARIC Accession Number: J47331
ABSTRACT: Article examines the extent to which racial minorities are able to obtain assistive technology (AT) through alternative financing programs. Literature on the barriers to AT access for minority populations is reviewed. Patterns of use of alternative financing programs by race and ethnicity from a database of 10 states are discussed. Authors describe a model outreach program designed to increase access to and use of alternative financing by African Americans, Latino, and Southeast Asians in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Hernandez, B. (2002). No seat at the table, no voice in the chorus: Perspectives of young men of color on their disabilities, identities, and peer-mentors.
NARIC Accession Number: O14409
Available in full-text at www.naric.com/research/rehab/download.cfm?ID=38292
ABSTRACT: Final report of a study that explores the perspectives of 21 ethnic minority men with violently acquired spinal cord injuries (SCI) on their disabilities, identities, and peer-mentors. Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted to gather information from the participants. A model was developed from the data that includes 3 broad themes: (1) disability viewed as a blessing, (2) disability viewed as a turning point, and (3) disability viewed as identity-transforming.


Hahn, H. (2001). Attitudes toward disabilities: A research note on activists with disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 12(1), 40-46.
NARIC Accession Number: J42412
ABSTRACT: Study examining the attitudes of members of a disability advocacy group (ADAPT) regarding disability, and discussing, in light of this study, the difficulties and importance of obtaining research data on attitudes of disability-rights activists. Results of the study indicate that participants identified closely with their disabilities and adhered to a minority-group perspective. Many identified so closely with their disabilities that they would not choose to be cured even if this were “magically” possible.

Cavenaugh, B.S., Giesen, J.M., & Sansing, W.K. (2001). Access to vocational rehabilitation: The impact of race and ethnicity. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 98(7), 410-419.
NARIC Accession Number: J48227
ABSTRACT: Study examined the participation of racial and ethnic minorities who were visually impaired in the state-federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) system. Analysis of data from the 1994 and 1995 National Health Interview Survey, Disability Supplement indicated that VR access percentages were higher for African Americans, lower for Whites, and about the same for Hispanic Americans relative to the percentages of people of the same race and ethnicity with visual impairment in the national population.

Simon, M. (2001). Beyond broken promises: Reflections on eliminating barriers to the success of minority youth with disabilities. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 26(3), 200-203.
NARIC Accession Number: J43455
ABSTRACT: Commentary on the failure to eliminate barriers for minority youth with disabilities as they transition from school into the community and workplace. Existing laws and the policies to implement them have not been successful in overcoming the challenges faced by minorities and people with disabilities. Briefly discusses issues concerning overrepresentation of minorities in special education, patterns of inequitable treatment in the vocational rehabilitation process, underlying racism, and discriminatory attitudes. Author suggests more action than rhetoric is needed to remove the barriers that continue to exist.


(1999). Forging coalitions: Networking with traditional civil rights organizations toward promoting minority leadership in disability advocacy — Final report.
NARIC Accession Number: O13027
Available in full-text at www.naric.com/research/rehab/download.cfm?ID=91165
ABSTRACT: Final report of a national strategy to promote social justice for minority persons with disabilities and their families. Results are presented discussing the success of the programs’ four broad goals: (1) Enhance the capacity of a Midwestern regional consortium of National Urban League affiliates to incorporate the concerns of minority group members with developmental disabilities and their families into the mainstream of civil rights activity; (2) Organize and conduct a series of advocacy strategies which will promote participation of minority group members with developmental disabilities and their families in disability rights activities; (3) Evaluate these efforts and accomplishments; and (4) Design and implement a comprehensive information dissemination program to assist policy makers, advocacy groups, and civil rights organizations in cultivating racial and ethnic minority group members with disabilities and their families as leaders in disability advocacy efforts.

Bryan, W.V. (1999). Multicultural aspects of disabilities: A guide to understanding and assisting minorities in the rehabilitation process.
NARIC Accession Number: R07953
ABSTRACT: Book with guidance for rehabilitation professionals on understanding cultural diversity as a factor in the rehabilitation process. The first part of the book provides information on the effects of disability and of discrimination against people with disabilities, including those belonging to other minority groups. In the second part of the book, chapters focus specifically on issues related to rehabilitation services for African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Latino/Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, women, and older adults.

Jewell, L. (Ed), McClain, J.W., & VanArsdall, J.E. (1999). Minority persons with disabilities: A basic primer for professionals — A training manual and videotape series.
NARIC Accession Number: O13024
ABSTRACT: Manual and videotape series designed to provide professionals and advocates with a basic understanding of the concerns of minority persons with disabilities and their families. Factors that contribute to the disenfranchisement of this population are explored with the goal to go beyond understanding into the realm of problem-solving. The manual includes materials and written text from the videotapes which include an overview of the training program, an exploration of poverty and disability, disability and major life functions, the philosophy and practice of cultural competence, and advocacy for minorities with disabilities.


Czechowicz, S., Fujiura, G.T., & Yamaki, K. (1998). Disability among ethnic and racial minorities in the United States. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 9(2), 111-130.
NARIC Accession Number: J36592
ABSTRACT: Investigation of the relationship of disability prevalence, low-income status, and family structure among ethnic and racial minorities, using analyses from the 1992 and 1993 Survey of Income and Program Participation and the 1993 National Health Interview Survey. Overall, the highest rates of disability occurred among Native Americans; lowest rates were among Asians; and white, black and Hispanic rates were in the intermediate range. Group differences obscured interactions with age, economic status, and family structure. Across all ethnic/racial and age cohorts, rates of disability were higher among low-income households; above the low-income threshold group these differences were greatly attenuated. Black and Hispanic American children with disabilities lived disproportionately in low-income, single-parent homes. Data suggests the importance of risk embedded in the social and economical context of the U.S. and the need for disability policy to be directly engaged in the broader domestic discussions on poverty, social risk and income inequality.


Smart, D.W., & Smart, J.F. (1997). The racial/ethnic demography of disability. Journal of Rehabilitation, 63(4), 9-15.
NARIC Accession Number: J34450
ABSTRACT: Discusses the link between the disproportionately higher disability rates of racial/ethnic minorities and five socioeconomic conditions: low income and poverty, employment in physically dangerous jobs, lack of insurance coverage, low educational attainment, and faulty testing and assessment. Outlines data sources and problems in obtaining accurate and meaningful statistics. Makes recommendations for further research to more clearly define the links between these five conditions and disability rates.


Asbury, C., Saravanabhavan, R.C., & Walker, S. (1996). Prevalence of disabling conditions among diverse racial/ethnic groups in the United States, 1996. Monograph series no 3.
NARIC Accession Number: O12072
ABSTRACT: Report from a study designed to determine and update the prevalence of disabilities among ethnic minority groups. The goal is to provide current information about the demographic and disability characteristics of racial/ethnic minority populations to inform consumers, service providers, researchers, and policy makers. The major source of information for the study was the 1991 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Center for Health Statistics. The status of racial/ethnic minority persons in four disability categories was examined: chronic health conditions; physical, sensory, and language impairments; mental disorders; and nervous disorders. The demographic variables studied were gender, age, education, family income, marital status, employment, and geographic region. This report presents the results and discusses the policy implications of the findings.

Fernandez, D., Szymanski, E.M., & Trevino, B. (1996). Rehabilitation career planning with minorities. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 27(4), 45-49.
NARIC Accession Number: J32958
ABSTRACT: Discusses the fundamental concerns of race and ethnicity in the delivery of rehabilitation services. Describes career planning issues such as: meaning of disability, independence or interdependence, racial identity and acculturation, and gender and ethnicity interaction that relate to racial and ethnic minorities with disabilities. Provides recommendations for maintaining culturally sensitive counseling strategies.


Fernandez, D., Szymanski, E.M., & Trevino, B. (1995). Rehabilitation career planning with minorities with disabilities.
NARIC Accession Number: R07268
ABSTRACT: Examines the factors that influence the career development of minorities with disabilities and the implications for rehabilitation counseling. Literature from rehabilitation, counseling, and vocational psychology is reviewed to explore the influences of the following factors: culture and counselor orientation, castification and history, meaning of disability, beliefs about independence and interdependence, racial identity and acculturation, language, role models, types of interventions, structural factors and opportunity structures, and gender and ethnicity interactions. Suggestions for culturally sensitive rehabilitation counseling are included.


Leung, P. (1993). Minorities with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act: A promise yet to be fulfilled. Journal of Rehabilitation Administration, 17(3), 92-100.
NARIC Accession Number: J25929
ABSTRACT: Article reviews the effectiveness of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in providing for the needs of minorities with disabilities. The ADA is dependent on widespread voluntary compliance and on the awareness of persons with disabilities to make violations known to enforce compliance with the regulations. A large majority of ethnic persons with disabilities are excluded from the full benefits provided by the ADA due to the fact that they and their community have not the knowledge and understanding of the ADA to ensure it’s full implementation. It is suggested that this is a problem as the numbers of individuals in ethnic groups continue to increase throughout the population of the United States. It was also found that members of ethnic and racial minorities are more likely to experience a disability. It is suggested that in order to aid ethnic individuals with disabilities a more firm grasp on the values and belief systems of those groups must be understood. Problems in understanding each major ethnic group are given. Recommendations made are: 1) adopt a broader and more comprehensive educational program that recognizes cultural/ethnic values, 2) change some strategies to include individuals and organizations which have the facility and values of the ethnic groups of concern, 3) intensify efforts to communicate the issues related to the ADA to the different ethnic groups, 4) target efforts to survey areas of high cultural diversity for problems in education and assistance with non-compliance and deficiencies, 5) increase funding to include the expertise of persons who can associate effectively with the different ethnic groups, and 6) focus efforts through the use of spokespersons of the different ethnic groups to broach compliance issues. Comments on the article by peers are included at the end.


Dziekan, K.I., & Okocha, A.A.G. (1993). Accessibility of rehabilitation services: Comparison by racial-ethnic status. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 36(4), 183-189.
NARIC Accession Number: J24664
ABSTRACT: Describes a study attempting to identify differences in application rates of majority and minority individuals for vocational rehabilitation services, and to compare acceptance rates of various ethnic groups for those services. Data was collected from the application and discharge forms of all individuals applying for vocational rehabilitation services during the years 1985-1989 in a mid-western state agency. This totaled 63,774 participants involved in the study. Percentages of ethnic groups included 87.1 percent Whites, 8.9 percent African Americans, 2.5 percent Hispanics, 1.1 percent Native Americans, and 0.4 percent Asian Americans. Results of the study indicated that ethnic minorities applied for services at a rate of 12.9 percent which was higher than their population rate for the area which was 7.8 percent. African Americans and Hispanics were least likely to be accepted for services with an acceptance rate of less than 50 percent. Whites’ acceptance rate was greater than 60 percent. Native Americans had the highest rate of acceptance among the ethnic groups which was greater than 50 percent. Possible reasons for lower acceptance rates for minorities are discussed. Suggestions for improving acceptance rates are presented. The article recommends a national study of minority access and acceptance for vocational rehabilitation services.

Smart, D.W., & Smart, J.F. (1992). Curriculum changes in multicultural rehabilitation. Rehabilitation Education, 6(2), 105-122.
NARIC Accession Number: J23184
ABSTRACT: Discusses five general cross-cultural issues in multicultural rehabilitation: (1) the demand for services by minorities, (2) cultural uniqueness, (3) the effects of acculturation, (4) disadvantaged status, and (5) the importance of language. The article identifies 11 multicultural issues that impact the rehabilitation process: (1) disability is associated with race, (2) racial and ethnic minorities are overrepresented in physically demanding and dangerous jobs, (3) a minority person with a disability belongs to two disadvantaged classes, (4) the dominant culture has a major impact, (5) level of acculturation affects the vocational and psychological evaluation process, (6) culture is related to the perception and acceptance of disability, (7) rehabilitation students should receive the tools with which to evaluate cross-cultural research, (8) culturally relevant services have increased application rates, (9) minorities utilize the rehabilitation system differently, (10) the use of untrained and unsupervised interpreters in unethical, and (11) there is a shortage of rehabilitation bilingual and/or bicultural professionals.


Atkin, K. (1991). Health, illness, disability, and black minorities: A speculative critique of present day discourse. Disability, Handicap & Society, 6(1), 37-47.
NARIC Accession Number: J20273
ABSTRACT: A study looked at services for and needs of Black and Asian minorities in Britain, incorporating a user perspective. Researchers assumed that health, illness, and disability are intimately connected to the way individuals construct social realities, and the ideas and attitudes they hold about their health and disability are also organized within a certain discourse. Service provision for people with disabilities usually embodies views of the provider rather than the user, but recent research redresses the imbalance and stresses the need to incorporate the client’s views. The paper examines how the construction of black individuals’ perceptions of health, illness, and disability arises from the nature of the discourse, focusing on: (1) social construction of health, illness, and disability; (2) race, health, disability, and discourse; (3) the humanist tradition; (4) scientific medicine and health, illness, and disability; (5) ethnicity, health, illness, and disability; and (6) distinctiveness of ethnicity.

Belgave, F.Z., Nicholls, R.W., Turner, K.A., & Walker, S. (1991). Proceedings of the national conference: Future frontiers in the employment of minority persons with disabilities.
NARIC Accession Number: O10529
ABSTRACT: Presents proceedings from conference that focused on national issues related to employment of minority individuals with disabilities: (1) policy implications and future forecasts: future frontiers (NIDRR’s role); status of minority persons with disabilities; prevalence, distribution, and impact of disability among ethnic minorities; differences in rehabilitation service utilization patterns of African Americans and white Americans with disabilities; and substance abuse among individuals with physical disabilities in hospitals serving urban minorities; (2) new frontiers in multicultural approaches: enhancing diversity; Hispanics with disabilities in the workforce; vocational rehabilitation and the American Indian; and employment of Asian/Pacific minority persons with disabilities; (3) frontiers in assistive technology: future frontiers in access to technology; hearing to read (the Kurzwell reading machines); what is appropriate technology; the computer; and information technology program for individuals with disabilities; and (4) advancing frontiers through collaboration: bridges to leadership (Howard University youth leadership); maximizing potential (parent’s role); America’s mean streets; collaborative models; and empowering minority persons with disabilities through collaboration.


Wright, T.J. (1988). Enhancing the professional preparation of rehabilitation counselors for improved services to ethnic minorities with disabilities. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 19(4), 4-10.
NARIC Accession Number: J10209
ABSTRACT: General discussion of unique characteristics and problems of ethnic minorities (Blacks and Hispanics) with disabilities. Goal is to identify potential counseling training needs and service delivery issues by reviewing existing programs and research needs. Author calls for establishing ethnic minority advisory groups and providing necessary funding to enhance rehabilitation of disabled ethnics. Article includes profile of average black and Hispanic disabled person in U.S. and general literature review of available services to minorities with disabilities. Critical issues and recommendations involved in preparing rehabilitation professionals to serve minorities with disabilities categorized. References included.


Walker, S., et al. (Eds.). (1986). Equal to the challenge: Perspectives, problems and strategies in the rehabilitation of the nonwhite disabled. Washington, DC Nov. 7-9, 1984. Monograph series no 2.
NARIC Accession Number: O07440
ABSTRACT: Papers based on presentations of the National Conference of the Howard University Model to Improve Rehabilitation Services to Minority Populations with Handicapping Conditions. Papers focus on implications for rehabilitation research addressing the needs of nonwhite disabled persons, social support and chronically ill black patients, patients perceptions of adjustment to disability, frequency and distribution of disabilities among blacks, service delivery issues and closure, blacks and physical disability, sociocultural aspects, disabled Hispanics, socioeconomic and cultural problems affecting delivery of rehabilitation services to Hispanic blind and visually disabled persons, media and technology, rehabilitation training program, training speech-language pathologists for work with minority individuals, access to community college programs for nonwhites, non-traditional career approaches, advocacy and the role of the black church, local resources, information and referral agency use and traditional and confrontational politics. Includes references.


Pape, D.A., Quinn, F.H., & Walker, G.R. (1983). Ethnicity and disability: Two minority statuses. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 14(4), 18-23.
NARIC Accession Number: J03515
ABSTRACT: Discusses the need for rehabilitation counselors to understand the traditions and origins of disabled individuals who are members of a minority group. Discusses psychosocial aspects, case-finding, intake, assessment-problem identification, services, and outcomes as they apply to ethnic groups, specifically Asian Americans, Blacks and Hispanic Americans. Includes references.


Gorski, R. (1981). Minority voices: Neither part of a double disability is the whole person. Disabled USA, 4(8), 1-3.
NARIC Accession Number: J00210
ABSTRACT: Presents experiences and observations of disabled persons who have an additional minority characteristic, including a blind Asian American, a Hispanic American and a black male who use wheelchairs, an Italian American woman who has multiple sclerosis, and Orthodox Jewish male, who is disabled. Adjusting to a disability is connected with, hindered, or complicated by how the individual and society react to the disadvantage of being part of a minority group. Article states that there is little evidence that rehabilitation helps disabled minority persons. Unless rehabilitation professionals are aware of the cultural backgrounds of minority clients, these clients may receive unrealistic services or be denied important support resources.

Documents from ERIC search at www.eric.ed.gov are listed below:


Islam, Z. (2008). Negotiating identities: The lives of Pakistani and Bangladeshi young disabled people. Disability & Society, 23(1), 41-52.
ERIC #: EJ811356
ABSTRACT: Research has generally amalgamated minority ethnic (all called “Asian” or “black”) disabled young people’s experiences and failed to acknowledge the multiple aspects of Asian and black disabled identities, for example how the combined attributes of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, culture, class and disability shape their perspectives and experiences. In an attempt to address this issue my doctoral research explored the experiences and perspectives of 13 young Pakistani and Bangladeshi disabled people. By drawing on the substantive and theoretical findings which emerged from my analysis in this paper I shall consider how multiple aspects of identity, such as ethnicity, disability and gender, affect this population’s identity and self-image and how this makes their experiences different from white disabled young people and other minority groups’ experiences. (Contains 1 note.)


Knight, M.G., & Reid, D.K. (2006). Disability justifies exclusion of minority students: A critical history grounded in disability studies. Educational Researcher, 35(6), 18-23.
ERIC #: EJ750546
ABSTRACT: From a disability studies perspective, the authors analyze how the historical conflation of disability with other identity factors and the ideology of normalcy contribute to the disproportionality problem in K-12 special education. They argue that this conflation and ideology make labeling and segregated education seem natural and legitimate for students carrying the high-incidence, legally defined labels Learning Disabled (LD), Mentally Retarded, and Emotionally Disturbed. The authors then apply their insights to the scant literature on college access for students labeled LD. Although it appears that disabled students are succeeding at increasing rates, the overall picture obscures the “continued” effects of the historical legacy embedded in the intersections of race, class, gender, and disability for K-16 students.


Kemp, C.E., & Parette, H.P. (2000). Barriers to minority family involvement in assistive technology decision-making processes. Education and Training in Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities, 35(4), 384-92.
ERIC #: EJ619717
ABSTRACT: This article examines systemic barriers (i.e., racism and prejudice, equity of resources, and professionals’ views of themselves being different) faced by minority families in the assistive technology decision-making process. Implications for professionals working with students with mental and developmental disabilities from minority families are drawn. (Contains references.)


Walker, S., et al. (1996). An examination of the impact of federally supported community services and educational systems on underserved people with disabilities from diverse cultural populations.
ERIC #: ED397588
Available in full-text at www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED397588
ABSTRACT: This study reviewed the literature on and conducted three national surveys concerning delivery of services to people with disabilities from minority backgrounds. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are reviewed, with a focus on initiatives to serve persons with disabilities from diverse backgrounds. A review of relevant statistics regarding different racial groups is included. Information is provided on the status of: African Americans with disabilities; Hispanic Americans with disabilities; American Indians with disabilities; and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders with disabilities. The service delivery effectiveness between white American communities and minority American communities is contrasted. The unique challenges faced by individuals with disabilities who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups are discussed. The results of three national-level surveys of community service projects/programs (n=65), educational institutions (n=53), and consumers with disabilities (n=139) are revealed. The surveys addressed the status of services to persons with disabilities representing diverse cultural/racial backgrounds and the perception of consumers with regard to the type and quality of services they receive. Consumers were also asked about their major concerns regarding employment, accessibility, transportation, communication, and public accommodation. Recommendations are given on how to better serve diverse cultural groups. Survey instruments are included in the appendix. (Contains 40 references.)


Leung, P., & Wright, T.J. (eds.). (1993). Meeting the unique needs of minorities with disabilities. A report to the President and the Congress. Washington, D.C.: National Council on Disability.
ERIC #: ED357526
Available in full-text at www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED357526
ABSTRACT: This report presents results of a 1992 conference on the unique needs of minorities with disabilities. Major recommendations include: increased coordination of government policies and programs for this population; authorization of targeted research on minorities with disabilities; outreach efforts to ensure participation by minorities with disabilities; development of a data set sufficient to assess the incidence and prevalence of disabilities; and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Also included are findings of a 1992 public hearing on how minorities with disabilities are faring under the ADA. Summaries of commissioned papers presented at the conference are also provided. Papers are as follows: (1) “Introduction: Minorities with Disabilities” (Paul Leung and Tennyson J. Wright); (2) “Educational Needs of Minorities with Disabilities” (Frederick D. Bedell); (3) “The Vocational Rehabilitation of Minorities” (Frank L. Giles); (4) “Employment of Minorities with Disabilities” (Alyce Earl Jenkins); (5) “Empowerment of Minorities with Disabilities” (Eva P. Britt); (6) “Mental Health and Minorities: Emerging Issues” (Timothy Summers); (7) “Prevention of Primary and Secondary Disabilities” (Julie Clay); (8) “Minorities, Physical Health and Disability” (Anita Leal); (9) “Substance Abuse and Disabilities among Minorities” (James G. Brown); and (10) “Research Needs Related to Minorities with Disabilities” (Paul Leung). Appendices include the conference program, list of conference participants, the ADA Watch Hearing agenda, and biographies of National Council personnel.


Bedell, F., et al. (1992). Educational needs of minorities with disabilities [and] reactions.
ERIC #: ED358593
Available in full-text at www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED358593
ABSTRACT: This paper by a public school teacher and elected official with 32 years experience in public education discusses the placement of minority students and service delivery to minorities in special education programs in public school systems. The paper argues that various school practices often result in a disproportionate placement of minorities in special education programs and that a number of societal factors make the problems of at-risk minority students even more difficult and unpredictable. In addition, the demographic revolution of the past decade has brought about a degree of linguistic and cultural diversity that profoundly influences the country’s social institutions. Schools are ill-equipped to deal with language minority students because of inadequate teacher training or inappropriate curricula, and, as a consequence, those students are placed in a special education programming track, as are many minority youngsters at-risk for other reasons, such as low self-esteem, peer pressure, inappropriate curricula, negative home environment, and, in some cases, a hostile school climate. It is proposed, however, that general education programs properly adapted can serve a large number of students currently placed in special education programs. Recommendations are made to prevent the overrepresentation of minorities in special programs and to improve the placement process of children with special needs, and systems to assure adequate service delivery for this population are presented. A reaction paper by Tennyson J. Wright adds to these recommendations, noting that educators need to be educated about the real America of minority populations; that Americans need to develop an appreciation of differences as human and natural; and that a liberal education of inclusion relative to racial, cultural, gender, disability, class, and language differences needs to be developed. A second reaction paper, by Julian Castillo, points out that an understanding of the sub-groups encompassed in the term Hispanic is needed, that programs need to address the issue of accountability, and that effective preschool programs and individual service planning are needed for minority group students. (Contains 12 references.)

Giles, F.L., et al. (1992). The vocational rehabilitation of minorities [and] reactions.
ERIC #: ED358592
Available in full-text at www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED358592
ABSTRACT: This paper addresses problems encountered by minorities in accessing the state/federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) system, how minorities have fared in the system, the lack of trained minorities in the VR counseling profession, and a comparison of private-for-profit and state/federal VR programs. Minorities considered include Blacks, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. The paper concludes that minorities with disabilities are less likely than Whites with disabilities to be found eligible for state/federal services, are less likely to be rehabilitated, and are provided fewer opportunities for academic training. Eleven research, training, and policy recommendations are offered. A reaction to the paper by Madan M. Kundu cites studies showing that race is a predominant factor in rehabilitation outcome and offers recommendations for state/federal VR systems, rehabilitation counselor training programs, the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The reaction paper contains a list of 19 references and 9 reference materials. A second reaction, by Eddie E. Glenn, calls for the Rehabilitation Services Administration to reexamine its traditional approach to increasing the awareness of, understanding of, acceptance of, utilization of, and commitment to VR services. (Contains 31 references.)

Leung, P., & Wright, T.J. (eds.). (1992). The unique needs of minorities with disabilities: Setting an agenda for the future. Conference proceedings: Jackson, Mississippi, May 6-7, 1992.
ERIC #: ED358591
Available in full-text at www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED358591
ABSTRACT: This conference report presents issue papers that speak to the needs of minority group members with disabilities, solicited from human service professionals. The papers provide statistical data relating to the needs of various people with disabilities who are members of minority groups, describe initiatives developed to serve those needs, analyze the effectiveness of those initiatives, and offer recommendations for improved services. An introduction by Paul Leung and Tennyson J. Wright precedes the nine main topic papers of the conference, each of which is followed by “reaction” papers by one or more panelists. The topic papers are as follows: “Employment” (Alyce Earl Jenkins); “Research Needs Related to Minorities with Disabilities” (Paul Leung); “Mental Health and Minorities: Emerging Issues” (Timothy Summers); “The Vocational Rehabilitation of Minorities” (Frank L. Giles); “Prevention of Primary and Secondary Disabilities” (Julie Clay); “Empowerment and Minorities with Disabilities” (Eva P. Britt); “Minorities, Physical Health and Disability” (Anita Leal); “Substance Abuse and Disabilities among Minorities” (James G. Brown); and “Educational Needs of Minorities with Disabilities” (Frederick D. Bedell). Concurrent workshop reports are then provided, summarizing the issue papers and their recommendations on the issues of employment, research, rehabilitation, empowerment, physical health, and education; a final workshop sums up the discussions of the general session. A conference program and a list of program participants conclude the document.


Asbury, C.A., et al. (1991). Disability prevalence and demographic association among race/ethnic minority populations in the United States: Implications for the 21st century. Monograph series no. two.
ERIC #: ED397589
Available in full-text at www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED397589
ABSTRACT: This research report examined the distribution and incidence of disabilities among minority communities. A review of literature is provided including relevant statistics on the prevalence of disabilities in African Americans and Hispanic Americans. The study used data from the National Health Interview Survey (n=122,859) to determine the prevalence of disability. The association between race/ethnicity and other characteristics (sex, age, education, family income, marital status, employment, and geographic region) is examined. Disability was divided into four categories: chronic debilitating health conditions; physical, sensory, and language impairments; mental disorders; and nervous system disorders. Several tables are provided to show association between variables. Among the results were: the overrepresentation of African Americans and Hispanic Americans with chronic health conditions; African American overrepresentation for mental retardation and other nervous system disorders; a high proportion of subjects from each of the disability categories residing in the South; and the generally low incomes of people with disabilities from minority groups. (Contains 30 references.)


Wright, T.J. (1988). Enhancing the professional preparation of rehabilitation counselors for improved services to ethnic minorities with disabilities. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 19(4), 4-10.
ERIC #: EJ385365
ABSTRACT: Presented are demographic data and research findings on ethnic minorities with disabilities, providing insight into how these characteristics impact the rehabilitation process and the delivery of services. Recommendations are offered on professional preparation of rehabilitation counselors to better serve minorities with disabilities.

Documents from the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exhange (CIRRIE-2) search at cirrie.buffalo.edu are listed below:


Louvet, E., & Rohmer, O. (2009). Describing persons with disability: Salience of disability, gender, and ethnicity. Rehabilitation Psychology, 54(1), 6-82.
PUBMED Citation: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19618706


Chiam, P.C., Kua, E.H., Ng, T.P., & Niti, M. (2006). Prevalence and correlates of functional disability in multiethnic elderly Singaporeans. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 54(1), 21-9.
PUBMED Citation: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16420194


Broderick, M., Morton, R., Nicholson, J., & Sharma, V., et al. (2002). Disability in children from different ethnic populations. Child: Care, Health and Development, 28(1), 87-93.
PUBMED Citation: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11856191&dopt=Abstract


Ali, Z., Bywaters, P., Fazil, Q., & Wallace, L., et al. (2001). Disability, ethnicity and childhood: A critical review of research. Disability and Society, 16(7), 949-967.
ABSTRACT: There is a lot of research on the perceptions of the caregivers of children with disabilities but little research on the perceptions of the children themselves from majority or minority population especially the black and Asian community. This paper reviews and analyses the literature about the perceptions of children with and without disabilities and young people from the Black and Asian community about disability and impairment. One of the objectives of the Disability Movement is full participation and self-representation of all people with disabilities however in Britain this movement has been led by white, middle-class, heterosexual, articulate males which mirrors the society in general. This paper reviews the prejudice faced by black and Asian children with disabilities in contrast to white children with disabilities. In conclusion, this paper suggests more research about the subjective experience of black and Asian children with disabilities about meeting their particular needs. (CIRRIE Abstract).

Document from the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) search at ncrtm.org is listed below:


Emener, W.G., & Wright, T.J. (1989). Ethnic Minorities with Disabilities: An Annotated Bibliography of Rehabilitation Literature. Tampa: University of South Florida.
NCRTM #: G100.0005.01
Available in full-text at library.ncrtm.org/pdf/G100.0005.01.pdf
ABSTRACT: The purposes of this annotated bibliography are: (1) to increase availability and utilization of professional literature about ethnic minorities with disabilities; (2) to provide document that is convenient for researchers, scholars, educators, and trainers; and (3) to provide guide for increasing knowledge and understanding of ethnic minorities with disabilities.

Document from the Campbell Collaboration search at www.campbellcollaboration.org is listed below:

Hasnain, R. (2009). The use of cultural competency educational interventions to improve rehabilitation service access and outcomes for culturally diverse individuals with disabilities: A systematic review and meta analysis. The Campbell Collaboration Colloquium 2009: Better Evidence for a Better World, Oslo, Norway, May 18 – 20, 2009.
Available in full-text at www.campbellcollaboration.org/artman2/uploads/1/Torgerson_disability_subgroup.pdf
No abstract is available.

Documents from the National Library of Medicine PubMed search at www.pubmed.com are listed below:


Bouras, N., Fearon, P., Kravariti, E., McCarthy, J., & Tsakanikos, E. (2010). The role of ethnicity in clinical psychopathology and care pathways of adults with intellectual disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 31(2), 410-5.
PMID #: 19932597
ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to explore whether people with intellectual disability from ethnic minority groups have higher rates of mental health problems and access different care pathways than their White counterparts. Clinical and socio-demographic data were collected for 806 consecutive new referrals to a specialist mental health service for people with intellectual disabilities in South London. Referrals were grouped according to their ethnic origin. The analyses showed that there was an over-representation of referrals from ethnic minority groups with diagnoses of schizophrenia spectrum disorder. In addition, Black participants were more likely to have an autistic spectrum disorder. Referrals of ethnic minority groups were considerably younger than White referrals, and less likely to be in supported residences. The results are discussed in the context of cultural and familial factors in particular ethnic groups that may play an important role in accessing and using mental health services.


Balcazar, F.E., & Taylor-Ritzler, T. (2009). Perspectives of vocational rehabilitation counselors on the factors related to employment outcomes of racial and ethnic minorities with disabilities. Journal of Social Work in Disability & Rehabilitation, 8(3), 102-16.
PMID #: 20183626
ABSTRACT: This study identified effective strategies to promote employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities (consumers) from diverse cultural backgrounds. Twenty-one vocational rehabilitation counselors participated in semi-structured interviews. Data revealed five major themes: (a) implementing an empowerment approach to case management; (b) establishing successful counseling relationships; (c) providing supports to help consumers adjust to or cope with their disability; (d) supporting consumers in obtaining and maintaining employment; and (e) assisting employers in understanding disability issues. These themes are applicable for the social work profession as well.


Baker, T.A., Haley, W.E., McIlvane, J.M., & Mingo, C.A. (2008). Are behavioral interventions for arthritis effective with minorities?: Addressing racial and ethnic diversity in disability and rehabilitation. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 59(10), 1512-8.
PMID #: 18821638
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To determine whether research evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral interventions for arthritis demonstrates that these interventions are effective with, and appropriately utilized by, minority participants. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted of arthritis intervention research from 1997 to 2008. For each article, information was gathered on the percentage of participants who were from different racial/ethnic groups whether interventions were shown to be effective for minority participants, whether differential attrition analyses were conducted, whether efforts were reported in minority recruitment and retention, and whether attempts were made to make interventions culturally appropriate. RESULTS: We identified 25 randomized intervention studies. Of these, only two reported on whether the intervention was similarly effective for white and black patients (equal effectiveness was found), and six studies reported examining differences in attrition by race (higher attrition in nonwhites was found in one study). Most studies did not report the percentage of participants from specific minority groups, and in many studies the percentage of minority participants was small. No studies reported making systematic efforts to assure that interventions were culturally appropriate for minority participants. CONCLUSION: Minority patients with arthritis are at risk for higher levels of disability than white patients, but little is known about whether evidence-based interventions for arthritis are effective for culturally diverse patients. In addition, minority patients appear to be underrepresented in intervention research, and too little attention has been paid to minority recruitment and assuring that interventions are culturally appropriate for diverse patients.

Cornman, J.C., & Freedman, V.A. (2008). Racial and ethnic disparities in mobility device use in late life. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B, Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences, 63(1), S34-41.
PMID #: 18332200
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Although racial and ethnic disparities in disability are well established and technology is increasingly used to bridge gaps between functional deficits and environmental demands, little research has focused on racial and ethnic disparities in device use. This study investigated whether use of mobility devices differs by race and ethnicity and explored several reasons for this difference. METHODS: The sample included community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older from the 2002 and 2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. We used predisposing, need, and enabling factors to predict mobility device use alone and combined with personal care. RESULT: Blacks had the highest rates of using mobility devices, followed by Hispanics and then Whites. Need and enabling factors explained differences between Blacks and Whites in wheelchair use but not cane use or use of devices without personal care. Other predisposing factors explained most differences between Hispanics and Whites. DISCUSSION: Because minorities appear to be using mobility devices in proportion to underlying need, increasing device use by minorities may not reduce disparities in mobility disability. Efforts to address racial/ethnic disparities in mobility disability in late life, therefore, may need to focus on differences in underlying functional decline rather than the accommodation of it.


Alston, R.J. (2003). Racial identity and cultural mistrust among African-American recipients of rehabilitation services: An exploratory study. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 26(4), 289-95.
PMID #: 14634363
ABSTRACT: Empirical evidence of how cultural and/or sociopolitical forces may impact the world view of an ethnic minority with a disability is integral to improving our understanding of the complex interplay among client characteristics, agency variables, societal factors and rehabilitation success. The purpose of this study was to investigate if there is a difference in the level of racial identity and cultural mistrust for African-Americans closed successfully and those closed unsuccessfully by a state/federal rehabilitation agency. Significant differences in one of four key racial identity levels were found between the two groups F(1,140) = 4.58, p < 0.05. However no significant differences on cultural mistrust were found between the two groups. There was a moderate positive correlation found between age and one of the levels of racial identity (r =-0.5947, p < 0.05) and a moderate negative (inverse) relationship between age and another level of racial identity (r = -0.5545, p < 0.05). Theoretical and service implications of the findings are discussed.


Choi, K.H., & Wynne, M.E. (2000). Providing services to Asian Americans with developmental disabilities and their families: Mainstream service providers’ perspective. Community Mental Health Journal, 36(6), 589-95.
PMID #: 11079186
ABSTRACT: This survey investigated the opinions and perceptions of 44 mainstream social service providers regarding barriers to Asian Americans with developmental disabilities and their families receiving appropriate supportive services. Six main barriers were identified: (1) Language and communication difficulties, (2) Lack of knowledge concerning mainstream service delivery system, (3) Perceived cultural differences, (4) Being a “minority within a minority” in the service delivery system, (5) Individual differences within families and differences among Asian ethnic groups, and (6) Lack of resources to meet needs within the family. Implications of the interrelationships among the identified barriers were discussed.


Baldwin, C.H., & Smith, R.T. (1984). An evaluation of the referral and rehabilitation process among the minority handicapped. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 7(3), 299-315.
PMID #: 6239833
ABSTRACT: This study examines factors believed to be predictive of the referral and rehabilitation process in this country. Using the Fiscal Year 1978 data from the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the study examines two general hypotheses found in the literature: (1) that minority status is likely to be a key determinant in the referral and rehabilitation process, and (2) that selected socio-demographic factors along with social supports and disability condition are likely to reveal direct influences on the referral and rehabilitation process. Multiple regressions were used for the analysis. The analysis of the study revealed that the independent variables, for the most part, had either a direct or indirect effect on the outcome of referral and rehabilitation. More specifically, the results suggest that bias exist in the referral and rehabilitation process.

Quick Looks

The 1985 Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Blacks and Minority Health, also known as the Heckler Report, prepared in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health was an instrumental document focusing on all major minority groups (i.e. African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans), and lead to the creation of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Smart & Smart, 1997, p. 9).

The OMH advises the Secretary and Office of Public Health and Science “on public health program activities affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders” (Retrieved from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=1&lvlID=7 on 05/25/2010). According to the OMH website, “[Its] mission is to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities” (Retrieved from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=1&lvlID=7 on 05/25/2010).

In keeping with the OMH mission, the Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC) was created in 1987 to provide information and disseminate documents related to health disparities within minority populations. According to Donatiello and Droese (2004), the OMHRC information and dissemination activities places priority “on existing data [on] documented disparities [such as]: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, violence and homicide, substance abuse, infant mortality, and low birth weight…these topics have expanded to include HIV/AIDS, mental health, and access to health care issues” (p. 258).


(2010). About OMH - The Office of Minority Health. Retrieved from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=1&lvlID=7.
Smart, D.W., & Smart, J.F. (1997). The racial/ethnic demography of disability. Journal of Rehabilitation, 63(4), 9-15.

Donatiello, J.E., Droese, P.W., & Kim, S.H. (2004). A selected, annotated list of materials that support the development of policies designed to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 92(2), 257-265.

Minorities with Disabilities Organizations & Resources

African American Disability Resources from Family Village

American Indian Disability Technical Assistance Center aidtac.ruralinstitute.umt.edu

Asian American Disability Resources from Family Village www.familyvillage.wisc.edu/multicultural/Asian.htm

Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California
Phone: 510/459-4228
Email: info@apidisabilities.org

Center for Capacity Building on Minorities with Disabilities Research (CCBMDR)
Phone: 312/413-1806, 312/413-4966

Disability Resources WebWatcher - Hispanics with Disabilities

Indian Health Service (IHS)
Phone: 301/443-3024

Latino Disability Resources from Family Village

National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities (NAEAACLD)
Phone: 614/237-6021
Email: info@aacld.org

National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA)
Contact: www.nbda.org/contact.html

National Center for Latinos with Disabilities, Inc.
Toll Free: 800/532-3393
Email: ncld@ncld.com

National Minorities with Disabilities Coalition (NMDC)
Contact: www.nmdc.us/?q=contact

National Technical Assistance Center for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities
Phone: 808/956-3648

Native American Disability Law Center
Toll Free: 800/862-7271
Email: info@nativedisabilitylaw.org

Native American Disability Resources from Family Village

Office of Minority Health and Minority Health Resource Center

Proyecto Visión - Latino Community Disability Resources

Search Terms for Minorities with Disabilities

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About reSearch:

reSearch is a new information product from the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC). Each issue is based on real-world queries received by our information specialists from researchers, educators, and rehabilitation professionals around the world.

We search several sources both in-house and online, to fill these requests including:

We hope you find these reSearch briefs informative in your own research.

- NARIC Information and Media Team