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Health Promotion for Persons With Disabilities: What Does the Literature Reveal?

Harrison, Tracie PhD, RN


A search of MEDLINE and CINAHL databases for research on disability and health promotion was done. Twenty-three articles were categorized into 1 of 3 areas: the meaning of health and health promotion, factors that contribute to health and health promotion, and health promotion interventions. Overall, health and health promotion were inductively defined concepts that emphasized function, relationships, and a positive mental attitude. Barriers to health promotion were frequently reported, fatigue being most common. Moreover, better health outcomes were reported when people with disabilities engaged in health-promoting behaviors. There were few interventions found, with only 1 being a randomized clinical trial.

School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin.

Corresponding author: Tracie Harrison, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, 1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701 (e-mail:

The author acknowledges the contribution of the attendees of the Center for Health Promotion Research Lakeway Collaboratory for their thoughtful feedback and candid advice on a previous version of this article.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.