Disparities in Quality of Life Among South Africans With and Without Disabilities

Lauren Graham, Eleanor Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Although quality of life is recognised as a key area of research when assessing development, it has received little attention when studying disability in South Africa and other developing contexts. As a result we know relatively little about how people with disabilities living in developing contexts fare in comparison to their counterparts without disabilities. In this article we seek to address this gap. We draw on secondary data analysis of a national panel study to compare the outcomes of people with disabilities and those without on measures of objective and subjective indicators of quality of life. We demonstrate that on subjective indicators of quality of life, people with disabilities consistently fare worse than those without disabilities, but that these differences are related to a range of variables. This means that we need to understand the intersection of disability with other factors such as gender and age in assessing quality of life. Following this, we argue that investments in national scale interventions such as increased access to basic amenities and social services represent investments in capability enhancement. As a result such interventions have the potential to address the needs of all, including those with disabilities, and to substantially enhance their quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-739
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Disability
  • Economic well-being
  • Emotional well-being
  • Life satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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