Skip to content

Chapter 2 - Adults with impairment at both waves

Released: 15 November 2012 Download PDF

Chapter 2 – Adults with impairment at both waves

This data was revised on April 10th 2014

Of adults who reported at least one impairment at Wave One, two thirds (66%) reported having at least one impairment at Wave Two (impairment at both waves). The remaining 34% of adults who had an impairment at Wave One no longer reported any impairment at Wave Two, they have offset from impairment and these adults will be discussed in Chapter Three.

This chapter focuses on all adults who had at least one impairment at both Wave One and Wave Two.

2.1 Impairments reported by adults with an impairment at both waves at Wave Two

This section describes the impairments that adults with an impairment at both waves experienced at both Wave One and Wave Two.

For adults with impairment at both waves, there has been little change between the two waves in terms of the number of impairments they reported. Consequently, only results from Wave Two are presented for this analysis. Figure 2.1 shows the percentage breakdown of these adults by the number of impairments they reported at Wave Two, and by age1.

Overall, adults with impairment at both waves were more likely to report three or more impairments (44%) than only one impairment (33%) at Wave Two. Those aged 65 and over in this group were also more likely to have three or more impairments (50%) than those of working age (aged 16 to 64, at 41%). Adults aged 65 and over were also less likely to have only one impairment (27%) than adults of working age (36%).

Figure 2.1 Impairment at both waves: number of impairments reported at Wave Two (by age)

Of adults with impairment at both waves, a higher percentage had 3 or more impairments than 1 impairment.
Source: Life Opportunities Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Figure 2.2 shows the overall distribution of impairment types at Wave One and Wave Two for adults with impairments at both waves. For both waves, the most commonly-reported impairments were long-term pain (67% at Wave One and 66% at Wave Two) and chronic health condition2 (52% at both waves), followed by mobility (38% and 39%) and dexterity (24% at both waves) impairments. Intellectual (2% at both waves) and behavioural (4% and 3%) impairments were those least likely to have been reported.

Between Wave One and Wave Two, the impairment types reported by adults were liable to change. That is, the adults reporting a particular impairment type at Wave One will not necessarily be the same group of adults reporting that impairment type at Wave Two. Further explanations on the changes of impairment types reported by this group are provided in Section 2.3.

Figures 2.3 and 2.4 show the percentage of those with impairment at both waves who had reported each impairment, by age groups working age (16 to 64) and those aged 65 and over. As with Figure 2.2, for both age groups, there has been little change between the two waves in the percentage who reported having each of the impairments.

When the percentages of working age adults and adults aged 65 and over reporting each impairment type at Wave Two are compared (see Figure 2.5), there are some significant differences. A higher percentage of those aged 65 and over than those of working age reported a mobility impairment (52% and 30% respectively) and a hearing impairment (17% and 7% respectively) at Wave Two. On the other hand, a higher percentage of those of working age than those aged 65 and over reported a mental health condition (22% and 4% respectively) and a learning impairment (10% and 1% respectively) at Wave Two.

Figure 2.2 Impairment at both waves: impairment types reported at Wave One and Wave Two

The percentage of adults with impairment at both waves reporting each impairment type remained similar.
Source: Life Opportunities Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Figure 2.3 Impairment at both waves: impairment types reported at Wave One and Wave Two, working age adults aged 16-64

Little change in the percentage of working age (16 to 64) adults with impairment at both waves reporting each impairment type.
Source: Life Opportunities Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Figure 2.4 Impairment at both waves: impairment types reported at Wave One and Wave Two, adults aged 65 or over

Little change in the percentage of over 65 adults with impairment at both waves reporting each impairment type.
Source: Life Opportunities Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Figure 2.5 Impairment at both waves: impairment types reported at Wave Two, by age

Adults aged 65 and over were more likely to have mobility and dexterity impairments, while working age adults were more likely to have mental health condition and learning impairments.
Source: Life Opportunities Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Notes for 2.1 Impairments reported by adults with an impairment at both waves at Wave Two

  1. In this report, all analyses comparing between those of working age (16 to 64) and those aged 65 and over are based on respondents’ age at Wave One.
  2. Chronic Conditions are defined as long-term conditions that have lasted or are expected to last 12 months or more and that have been diagnosed by a health professional. These include but are not limited to: Asthma or severe allergies; Heart condition or disease; Kidney condition or disease; Cancer; Diabetes; Epilepsy; Cerebral Palsy; Spina Bifida; Cystic Fibrosis; Muscular Dystrophy; Migraines; Arthritis or rheumatism; Multiple Sclerosis (MS) ; Paralysis of any kind; and Depression;

2.2 Severity of impairment reported by adults with impairment at both waves

The severity of impairment can be reflected by the level of difficulty1 and frequency of the limitation associated with the impairment. Tables 2.1 to 2.4 present the level of severity reported at Wave Two for the four most commonly-reported impairments by adults with impairment at both waves2 (long-term pain, chronic health conditions, mobility and dexterity). Details of the level and frequency of other impairment types can be found in Appendix One, and the corresponding figures for Wave One can be found Appendix Two.

In all four impairment types, approximately two thirds of adults with an impairment at both waves reported moderate difficulty for that impairment. A greater proportion of adults aged 65 and over with long-term pain “always” experienced limitation (35%), compared with adults of working age (29%). This was also true for chronic health condition (54% and 45% respectively) but not for mobility or dexterity impairments.  Overall 52% of those with a mobility impairment reported that they ‘always’ experienced limitation – the highest measure among these four impairment types.

Table 2.1, Impairment at both waves: severity of long-term pain at Wave Two, by age

Per cent
    Frequency of limitation   
  Rarely Sometimes Often Always Total    Sample size (100%)
Level of pain1            
   Working age (16-64)
         Moderate 6 30 15 13 64  
         Severe 2 9 10 15 36  
         Total 7 39 25 29   1,570
   65 and over            
         Moderate 5 25 17 17 63  
         Severe 1 7 10 18 37  
         Total 6 32 27 35   1,080
   All adults with an impairment at both waves        
         Moderate 5 28 16 15 64  
         Severe 2 8 10 16 36  
         Total 7 36 26 31   2,650

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Level of pain for long-term pain is measured by the intensity of pain – “mild”, “moderate”, or “severe”. Under the LOS definition, those who reported “moderate” or “severe” levels of pain, and rated the frequency of limitation as “rarely” or above were identified.
  2. Sample sizes have been rounded independently to the nearest 10.
  3. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.
  4. This data was revised on April 10th 2014.

Download table

Table 2.2, Impairment at both waves: severity of chronic health condition at Wave Two, by age

Per cent
    Frequency of limitation   
  Rarely Sometimes Often Always Total    Sample size (100%)
Level of difficulty1            
   Working age (16-64)
          Moderate difficulty 2 21 21 20 64  
          Severe difficulty 1 3 7 25 36  
          Total 3 24 28 45   950
   65 and over            
          Moderate difficulty 1 20 19 25 65  
          Severe difficulty * 2 4 29 35  
          Total 1 22 23 54   790
   All adults with an impairment at both waves        
          Moderate difficulty 2 20 20 22 65  
          Severe difficulty 1 3 6 26 35  
          Total 2 23 26 49   1,730

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Response categories for level of difficulty: 1. “No Difficulty”; 2. “Mild Difficulty”; 3. “Moderate Difficulty”; 4. “Severe Difficulty”; and 5. “Cannot do”; For some impairment types (chronic condition, breathing, learning, intellectual, behavioural, memory and mental impairments), the levels range from 1 to 4. For pain, the level of pain is measured by the intensity of the pain experienced: 1”Mild”; 2.”Moderate”; 3. “Severe”.
  2. * - Cells have been suppressed due to small cell counts.
  3. Sample sizes have been rounded independently to the nearest 10.
  4. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.
  5. This data was revised on April 10th 2014.

Download table

Table 2.3, Impairment at both waves: severity of mobility Impairment at Wave Two, by age

Per cent
     Frequency of limitation   
     Rarely Sometimes Often Always Total    Sample size (100%)
Level of difficulty            
   Working age (16-64)
          Moderate difficulty 1 14 20 27 62  
          Severe difficulty * 2 8 27 37  
          Cannot do1 0 0 * 1 1  
          Total  1 16 28 54   560
   65 and over            
          Moderate difficulty 1 18 22 24 65  
          Severe difficulty * 1 7 25 33  
          Cannot do 0 0 * 1 1  
          Total 1 19 29 51   710
   All adults with an impairment at both waves       
          Moderate difficulty 1 16 21 25 64  
          Severe difficulty 0 2 7 26 35  
          Cannot do 0 0 * 1 1  
          Total 1 18 29 52           1,270

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Response categories for level of difficulty: 1. “No Difficulty”; 2. “Mild Difficulty”; 3. “Moderate Difficulty”; 4. “Severe Difficulty”; and 5. “Cannot do”; For some impairment types (chronic condition, breathing, learning, intellectual, behavioural, memory and mental impairments), the levels range from 1 to 4. For pain, the level of pain is measured by the intensity of the pain experienced: 1”Mild”; 2.”Moderate”; 3. “Severe”.
  2. * - Cells have been suppressed due to small cell counts.
  3. 0 - Less than 0.5%, including none.
  4. Sample sizes have been rounded independently to the nearest 10.
  5. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.

Download table

Table 2.4, Impairment at both waves: severity of dexterity impairment at Wave Two, by age

Per cent
  Frequency of limitation   
  Rarely Sometimes Often Always Total   Sample size (100%)
Level of difficulty            
   Working age (16-64)
          Moderate difficulty 1 22 22 19 64  
          Severe difficulty * 2 8 22 33  
          Cannot do1 0 * * 2 3  
          Total  2 25 31 42   320
   65 and over            
          Moderate difficulty 2 32 17 15 66  
          Severe difficulty * 2 7 21 31  
          Cannot do 0 * 0 3 3  
          Total 3 35 24 39   300
   All adults with an impairment at both waves       
          Moderate difficulty 2 27 20 17 65  
          Severe difficulty 0 2 8 22 32  
          Cannot do 0 1 * 2 3  
          Total 2 30 28 41   620

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Response categories for level of difficulty: 1. “No Difficulty”; 2. “Mild Difficulty”; 3. Moderate Difficulty 4; “Severe Difficulty”; and 5. “Cannot Do”; For some impairment types (chronic condition, breathing, learning, intellectual, behavioural, memory, and mental impairments), the levels range from 1 to 4. For pain, the level of pain is measured by the intensity of the pain experienced: 1.”Mild”; 2.”Moderate”; 3. “Severe”.
  2. * - Cells have been suppressed due to small cell counts.
  3. 0 - Less than 0.5%, including none.
  4. Sample sizes have been rounded independently to the nearest 10.
  5. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.

Download table

Tables 2.5 to 2.8 present the change in level of difficulty and frequency of limitation for the four most common impairment types3   (long-term pain, chronic health condition, mobility and dexterity) between Waves One and Two. Change here is defined simply as an increase or decrease in level and frequency. It is important to note that this analysis does not give information about the magnitude of change in severity, only that the level and frequency of limitation has decreased, stayed the same, or increased between Wave One and Wave Two. For example, both an increase from moderate to severe difficulty and an increase from moderate difficulty to ‘cannot do’ will be classed as an increase in the level of severity. This analysis defines an adult as having a particular impairment if they report a level of difficulty greater than mild1  and report some limitation. The analysis presented below only includes those who have been classified as having that impairment type at both Wave One and Wave Two4.

For each of these impairment types, almost half of adults with impairment at both waves experienced no change in the frequency of limitation posed by the impairment. Around two thirds of those who had the same impairment at both Wave One and Wave Two reported no change in the level of pain experienced due to the impairment. No clear pattern of increase or decrease in the level of severity is evident for these four impairment types. There is also very little difference between age groups in terms of the changes of severity they experienced.

For each of these impairment types, around 30% of all adults with an impairment at both waves experienced no change in both the level or frequency of the impairment. Where a change was experienced it was more likely to be a change in the frequency of limitation rather than a change in the level of difficulty or pain.

Table 2.5, Impairment at both waves: change in severity of long-term pain, by age

Per cent
    Change in frequency of limitation   
  Decrease No Change Increase Total   Sample size (100%)
Change in level of pain1          
   Working age (16-64)          
          Decrease 5 7 4 17  
          No change 16 33 18 68  
          Increase 3 7 6 16  
          Total 24 48 28   1,570
   65 and over          
          Decrease 6 9 3 18  
          No change 16 29 18 63  
          Increase 3 8 8 19  
          Total 26 45 29   1,080
   All adults with an impairment at both waves      
          Decrease 5 8 4 17  
          No change 16 32 18 66  
          Increase 3 7 6 17  
          Total 25 47 29   2,650

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Level of pain for long-term pain is measured by the intensity of pain – “mild”, “moderate”, or “severe”. Under the LOS definition, those who reported “moderate” or “severe” levels of pain, and rated the frequency of limitation as “rarely” or above were identified as having long-term pain.
  2. Sample sizes have been rounded independently to the nearest 10.
  3. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.

Download table

Table 2.6, Impairment at both waves: change in severity of chronic health condition, by age

Per cent
    Change in frequency of limitation   
  Decrease No Change Increase Total      Sample size (100%)
Change in level of difficulty1          
   Working age (16-64)          
          Decrease 6 11 2 19  
          No change 12 33 18 63  
          Increase 3 7 8 18  
          Total 21 52 28   950
   65 and over          
          Decrease 5 6 2 13  
          No change 15 35 17 67  
          Increase 2 8 10 20  
          Total 22 49 29   790
   All adults with an impairment at both waves      
          Decrease 6 9 2 16  
          No change 14 34 17 65  
          Increase 2 8 9 19  
          Total 21 50 28           1,730

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Response categories for level of difficulty: 1. “No Difficulty”; 2. “Mild Difficulty”; 3. “Moderate Difficulty”; 4. “Severe Difficulty”; and 5. “Cannot do”; For some impairment types (chronic condition, breathing, learning, intellectual, behavioural, memory and mental impairments), the levels range from 1 to 4. For pain, the level of pain is measured by the intensity of the pain experienced: 1”Mild”; 2.”Moderate”; 3. “Severe”.
  2. Sample sizes have been rounded independently to the nearest 10.
  3. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.

Download table

Table 2.7, Impairment at both waves: change in severity of mobility impairment, by age

Per cent
    Change in frequency of limitation    
  Decrease No Change Increase Total   Sample size (100%)
Change in level of difficulty1          
   Working age (16-64)          
          Decrease 8 7 2 16  
          No change 14 33 18 65  
          Increase 3 8 8 19  
          Total 25 47 28   560
   65 and over          
          Decrease 8 7 2 16  
          No change 18 30 17 65  
          Increase 2 7 9 18  
          Total 28 45 27   710
   All adults with an impairment at both waves       
          Decrease 8 7 2 16  
          No change 16 32 17 65  
          Increase 2 8 9 19  
          Total 27 46 27            1,270

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Response categories for level of difficulty: 1. “No Difficulty”; 2. “Mild Difficulty”; 3. “Moderate Difficulty”; 4. “Severe Difficulty”; and 5. “Cannot do”; For some impairment types (chronic condition, breathing, learning, intellectual, behavioural, memory and mental impairments), the levels range from 1 to 4. For pain, the level of pain is measured by the intensity of the pain experienced: 1”Mild”; 2.”Moderate”; 3. “Severe”.
  2. Sample sizes have been rounded independently to the nearest 10.
  3. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.

Download table

Table 2.8, Impairment at both waves: change in severity of dexterity Impairment, by age

Per cent
  Change in frequency of limitation    
  Decrease No Change Increase Total   Sample size (100%)
Change in level of difficulty1          
   Working Age (16-64)          
          Decrease 6 8 2 16  
          No change 15 33 19 67  
          Increase 2 7 8 17  
          Total 23 47 30   320
   65 and over          
          Decrease 5 9 2 16  
          No change 19 30 16 65  
          Increase 3 5 11 19  
          Total 27 45 28   300
   All adults with an impairment at both waves       
          Decrease 6 8 2 16  
          No change 17 32 18 66  
          Increase 2 6 9 18  
          Total 25 46 29   620

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Response categories for level of difficulty: 1. “No Difficulty”; 2. “Mild Difficulty”; 3. “Moderate Difficulty”; 4. “Severe Difficulty”; and 5. “Cannot do”; For some impairment types (chronic condition, breathing, learning, intellectual, behavioural, memory and mental impairments), the levels range from 1 to 4. For pain, the level of pain is measured by the intensity of the pain experienced: 1”Mild”; 2.”Moderate”; 3. “Severe”.
  2. Sample sizes have been rounded independently to the nearest 10.
  3. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.

Download table

 

Notes for 2.2 Severity of impairment reported by adults with impairment at both waves

  1. Response categories for level of difficulty: 1. “No Difficulty”; 2. “Mild Difficulty”; 3. “Moderate Difficulty” 4; “Severe Difficulty”; and 5. “Cannot Do”; For some impairment types (chronic condition, breathing, learning, intellectual, behavioural, memory, and mental health impairments), the levels range from 1 to 4. For pain, the level of pain is measured by the intensity of the pain experienced: 1.”Mild”; 2.”Moderate”; 3. “Severe”.
  2. Analysis in Tables 2.1 -2.4 is based upon only adults who reported the same impairment at both waves.
  3. The corresponding tables for other impairment or health condition types can be found in Appendix Three.
  4. And therefore reported the level of difficulty as greater than ‘mild’ at both waves.

2.3 Changes in impairment among adults with an impairment at both waves

Adults are classified as having an impairment at both waves if they had at least one impairment at Wave One and at Wave Two. While some members of this group reported the same impairments at both waves, others may have reported a different set of impairments at Wave One and Wave Two. In other words, adults may report an impairment at Wave Two that was not recorded at Wave One, this impairment may replace an impairment reported at Wave One, or may be in addition to any impairments reported at Wave One.

Conversely, some adults with impairment at both waves may report an impairment at Wave One, but no longer reported that same impairment at Wave Two. For example, suppose that someone reported a mobility and a dexterity impairment at Wave One. If at Wave Two this person no longer reported the dexterity impairment (but still reported the mobility impairment), then he/she would experience an offset of dexterity impairment but still be classified as having an impairment at both waves.

Impairments are based on self-reporting, and there are many reasons for onset and offset (for example, improvements in medication or carer assistance). At Wave Two the LOS did not ask reasons for onset or offset of impairments, however at Wave Three the LOS questionnaire will ask for more details about the onset or offset from impairment that is reported and will therefore aim to offer greater insight into the reasons for changes in impairment.

Tables 2.9 and 2.10 describe changes in the impairment type reported by adults who had impairment at both waves. The offset rate presented in Table 2.9 is the percentage of adults with impairment at both waves who reported a particular impairment type at Wave One but did not report that same impairment type at Wave Two 1,2.  The ‘Additional Impairment Onset Rate’ in Table 2.10 is the percentage of adults with impairment at both waves who did not report a particular impairment type at Wave One3 but did report that impairment type at Wave Two4.
 
The offset rates for some impairment types and for certain age groups have been suppressed due to small sample sizes.

Generally, however, the figures in Table 2.9 indicate that for this group of adults with impairment at both waves, there was a great deal of change in the types of impairments reported between Wave One and Wave Two, with substantial proportions of this group no longer reporting a particular impairment at Wave Two, after reporting it at Wave One. Impairments identified by LOS are self-reported5 , it may be that the perception of the impairment has changed rather than there being a real change in the situation. This might be due to a genuine cessation of the impairment, or it could be due to a change in classification of the impairment (to another category). Reasons for offset will be explored further with the Wave Three questionnaire.

The three most common impairment types (long-term pain, chronic health condition and mobility) also have the lowest offset rates among adults with impairment at both waves (20%, 34% and 33% respectively). This finding suggests that for adults with impairment at both waves, the likelihood of these adults offsetting from long-term pain, chronic health condition and mobility impairment at Wave Two is lower than for other impairment or health condition types. It may also be that because adults with impairment at both waves have an older age distribution than the general population, these adults have an increased likelihood of having these impairments6. Therefore, it is not surprising that these three impairments show the lowest offset rates among adults who continue to have an impairment. This could also explain the high onset rates for these three impairments among adults with impairment at both waves.

Table 2.9, Impairment at both waves: offset rate by impairment type and age [1]

 
Offset rate
    Working age (16-64) 65 and over Total
Long-term pain   17 24 20
Mobility   35 31 33
Chronic health condition   33 35 34
Mental health condition   34 57 37
intellectual   37 * 41
Hearing   39 45 43
Learning   43 71 45
Dexterity   47 52 49
Memory   50 49 49
Sight   60 46 52
Breathing   52 53 52
Speaking   51 59 53
Behavioural    62 * 63
Other impairment   87 93 89

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. See Appendix 8 for sample sizes.
  2. * - Cells have been suppressed due to small cell counts.
  3. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.
  4. This data was revised on April 10th 2014

Download table

Table 2.10, Impairment at both waves: onset rate by impairment type and age [1]

Additional onset rate
  Working age (16-64) 65 and over Total
Long-term pain 36 39 37
Mobility 16 35 21
Chronic health condition 34 40 36
Mental health condition 9 2 6
intellectual 1 0 1
Hearing 3 9 5
Learning 4 1 3
Dexterity 12 22 15
Memory 8 8 8
Sight 6 9 7
Breathing 6 11 8
Speaking 3 2 3
Behavioural 3 0 2
Other impairment 3 3 3

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. See Appendix 8 for sample size.
  2. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1.

Download table

Notes for 2.3 Changes in impairment among adults with an impairment at both waves

  1. And therefore reported a different impairment at Wave Two.
  2. This will include those who reported “mild” difficulty for an impairment at Wave Two but higher level of difficulty for Wave One.
  3.  But did report some other impairment or health condition at Wave One.
  4. This will include those who reported “mild” difficulty for an impairment at Wave One but higher level of difficulty for Wave Two.
  5. See Section 1.6 for specific strengths and weaknesses of LOS
  6. See Annex 1 Table An.2

Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.