Stress constitutes more of a problem for women with disabilities than for non-disabled women.
Many women with disabilities report problems with stress. One study suggested that elevated stress levels were related to architectural barriers in the home and employment environments, problems with personal assistance, and problems with transportation services.
According to one analysis, the more functional limitations a woman had the more likely she reported having difficulties with stress. This difficulty with stress seemed to be more of a problem for working age women than for women over 65 years of age.
Women with disabilities who report a combination of social isolation, lack of social support, pain, and experiencing abuse in the past year are more likely to report high levels of stress. In addition, high levels of stress are linked with high levels of depression.
Like all women, women with disabilities are more likely than men to experience life stress related to poverty, violence and other forms of victimization, and chronic health problems.
Women with disabilities are faced with stressors, such as the uncertainty of their underlying health condition, barriers to health care, unemployment, and lower wages. Other disability-related stressors include increased time and effort to accomplish basic activities.
Women with disabilities are vulnerable to developing secondary conditions associated with stress, such as fatigue, depression, and cardiovascular problems, including hypertension and problems with overweight.
Although a few stress reduction interventions have been developed for people with disabilities, until recently, little research has been conducted on the techniques for self-management of stress specific for women with disabilities.
One current study involves a stress self-management program for women with physical disabilities. This program emphasizes goal setting, problem-solving, and relaxation training.