People with moderate or severe physical disability participate less in society than people with mild/no disability. Having a chronic disability is also identified as a risk factor for loneliness. The purpose of this study is to explore the relation between loneliness and social participation, focusing on a) degree of loneliness and participation, b) strength of the relation, c) interplay with other factors like social network and internet use.
A sample of 1477 people with moderate or severe physical disability, all member of The National Panel of people with Chronic illness or Disability. Loneliness was measured by the Loneliness Scale. The following indicators for social participation were used; volunteer work, doing leisure activities, meeting friends.
Preliminary results show that about 25% felt (very) severe lonely, less than one third did not feel lonely. More than 20% of the people did volunteer work, almost half of them did club activities monthly. More than half of the people had contact with 2-5 family members or friends at least once every two weeks, almost 10% had contact with 0-1 person. More than one third had contact with family or friends at least once a week using the internet. Final results on the relation between these factors will be presented at the Disability Studies Conference.
There is a great diversity in the extent to which people with disabilities feel lonely and participate in society. Conclusions on the relation between loneliness and social participation, will be presented at the Conference.