Heterogeneity in age at death for adults with developmental disability

S. D. Landes, J. D. Stevens, M. A. Turk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Although increased attention has been devoted to mortality trends for adults with developmental disability, research has not accounted for possible differences in age at death between disability types. We examine whether heterogeneity is present in age at death between adults with different types of developmental disability. Methods: Data were from the 2012–2016 U.S. Multiple Cause-of-Death Mortality files. Mean age at death and age at death distributions were analysed for adults, aged 18–126, with and without developmental disability collectively and then stratified by biological sex. Results: There were 33 154 decedents with and 13 026 759 without developmental disability. Compared with adults without developmental disability, age at death was lower for all decedents with developmental disability but varied markedly by disability type and biological sex. Among adults with developmental disability, those with intellectual disability had the highest age at death, and those with cerebral palsy or other rare developmental disabilities, especially if co-morbid for a second developmental disability, had the lowest age at death. Conclusion: Research on age at death for adults with developmental disability must account for heterogeneity among disability types in order to ensure reliable estimates. Failure to do so conceals important differences between disability types, which can misguide public health and preventive care efforts to reduce premature mortality and/or provide aging-related supports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1482-1487
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • age
  • biological sex
  • death
  • developmental disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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