The Impact of Disability on the Lives of Young Children: Analysis of Growing Up in Scotland Data

This research project was commissioned by Scottish Government Children and Families Analysis with the objective of undertaking an in-depth analysis of data from the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS) to examine the circumstances and outcomes of children living with a disability in Scotland. The overall aim of this analysis was to explore the impact of disability on the child, their parents and the wider family unit.

Some of the largest differences found were in relation to the socio-economic characteristics. Children with a disability were significantly more likely than non-disabled children to be in lower income households, live in areas with higher deprivation, and have parents who were not working. It appears that many of the differences observed between disabled and non-disabled children are driven by these key socio-economic distinctions rather than the presence of a disability. Only the child’s social, emotional and behavioural development was independently associated with disability.