Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability among African Americans

By Faye Z. Belgrave | Go to book overview

Introduction

Disability and chronic illness affect every citizen in the United States. The pervasive and profound consequences of disability and chronic illness affect us at the individual, family, community, and societal levels. African Americans are disproportionally affected by disability and chronic illness when compared to Whites and other ethnic minority groups. Approximately one out of every seven African Americans has an impairment that affects functioning in activities of daily living. This means in reality that almost every African American is touched by disability and chronic illness through direct experience or by the disability and chronic illness of a family member. Moreover, each of us will almost certainly have a disability or chronic illness in our lifetime if we live long enough.

The presence of disability and chronic illness impacts the quality of life for all Americans. This is especially true for African Americans. However, in spite of the significant number of African Americans who are affected by chronic illnesses and disabilities, there has been limited research and writing on the topic. The purpose of this book is to contribute to an understanding of chronic illness and disability among African Americans. This book also seeks to broaden our understanding of the ways in which mental health and functional outcomes such as employment can be improved for African Americans with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

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