Disability epidemiology constitutes a subdiscipline within epidemiology, similar to areas such as maternal and health epidemiology or nutritional epidemiology, which focus on a particular area and augment the approach and methodology common to many epidemiological endeavors with specific concerns and techniques relevant to the subject matter. This entry describes several key aspects of the definition of disability epidemiology, provides an overview of disability surveillance, and examines methodological issues in the field.


The practice of disability epidemiology includes consideration of the basic elements of descriptive epidemiology (who, what, where), etiological determinants of impairments, and the frequency and predictors of different outcomes of disability. All these questions incorporate the common epidemiology study designs and methods. Adapting from John Last's classic definition of epidemiology, disability epidemiology is, then, ...
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