Difference in utilization of assistive technology across two racial groups in the aging population

Shondra Loggins Clay, Reginald Alston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The utilization of assistive technology (AT) to enhance the quality of life has been well documented by disability researchers. However, the use across Black and White racial groups has been underexplored. Research Aim To update and extend the findings of Loggins et. al (Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 9(6): 487-92, 2014) by examining the relationship between race, assistive technology (AT) use, selected demographic variables, and access to health care. Methods Using the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) database, descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were estimated. Results Consistent with previous findings, a higher percentage of Blacks used AT (16.7%) compared to Whites (11.6%), and predictive factors of AT use were education, employment status, income level, health coverage, medical costs, and age. Blacks were 25% more likely to use AT compared to Whites; however, Whites who used AT had more favorable demographic identifiers (e.g. married, higher education, more employment, higher income, more health coverage, and fewer concerns with medical costs) compared to Blacks who used AT. In contrast to previous findings, gender was not statistically significant, users of AT have higher income levels, and there were differences in the magnitude of predictors. Conclusion Whites and Blacks still have the same predictors of AT use; however, there are still differences in the magnitude. Whereas gender was no longer found to be a significant predictor of AT use, marital status was statistically significant. This study highlights the disruption in the typical pattern of AT use among Whites and Blacks and future research should continue to monitor this changing trend in racial disparities and AT use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Assistive technology
  • Disabilities
  • Disparities
  • Race
  • Socioeconomic status (SES)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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