Assistive technology use by disability type and race: Exploration of a population-based health survey

Daudet Ilunga Tshiswaka, Shondra Loggins Clay, Chung-Yi Chiu, Reginald J Alston, Allen Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: To examine the relationships among Assistive Technology (AT) use, race, type of disability and selected other demographic characteristics. Method: Using 2009 National Health Interview Survey, descriptive statistics, statistical interactions and binary logistic regression were performed to identify, contrast and predict the likelihood of using AT based on the type of disability among African Americans (AAs) and European Americans (EAs). Results: We found that more AAs (10% within group proportion of total AAs) used AT compared to EAs (7.5% within group proportion of total EAs). Physical (p < 0.001), auditory (p = 0.028) and emotional (p = 0.008) impairments were statistically significant predictors of AT use. However, physical impairment as a predictor of AT use was greater among AAs (OR = 222.49, CI: 64.04-773.04, p < 0.001) than EAs (OR = 50.77, CI: 31.78-81.12, p < 0.001). EAs had a greater number of disabling conditions that predict the use of AT than AAs, whereas AAs had more demographic characteristics beyond race that predict AT use than EAs. Conclusions: Disparities were observed in AT usage by disability types and demographic characteristics between AAs and EAs. Moreover, the predictive strength of AT usage based on disability types and other demographic variables differed by races. Overall, the findings about the different relationships among race, disability type, and AT use are found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-132
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2016


  • Assistive technology
  • NHIS
  • disability type
  • disparities
  • race
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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