Published Papers - Abstract 61

Rutnam R, Martin-Murray S & Smith N. Using research to assist women with disabilities in Australia. Australian Social Policy, 2000; 1: 91-99

The International Year of Older Persons 1999 focused national attention on meeting the needs of people with disabilities as they age, as well as those who acquire disability late in life. In August 1998, as part of planning for meeting these needs, the then Office of Disability and Office for the Aged in the former Department of Health and Family Services began a literature review on ageing and disability issues. One of its findings was that there were no sources of national data providing insight into aspects of living, and ageing, with disability in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has produced four national surveys of disability, ageing and carers since 1981; however, they all provide statistical descriptions of the incidence of self-assessed disability only at particular points in time. A longitudinal survey is the preferred study design for uncovering patterns of behaviour over a life course, and for understanding possible causal relationships between factors such as disability and outcomes in daily life such as economic and social participation. This is becauseā€¢ tracking the same individuals over time will eventually allow us to abstract from the differences between those individuals, whereas it is difficult to infer causality from repeated cross-section surveys.