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Cardiff Study Resurrects Myth Disabilities Come From Bad Behaviour
Troubled boys more likely to die or be disabled by midlife, a Cardiff Wales study reports but the study findings are false. Using a small sample size and erroneous statistics, the study reverts to supersitious belief that disability is linked to sin.
The Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University Wales in a study of 411 men in South London found that bad boys were more likely to die early or become disabled.
"Disability is not caused by the Devil, evil spirits or badness," said Stephen Pate director of PEI Disability Alert. "Disability is a fact of the human condition caused by genetics, aging, illness, and accident."
"The Cardiff Wales study is bad science and the reporters who report it without question are uninformed,"
“A history of juvenile delinquency raises a man’s risk of dying or becoming disabled by the time he is 48 years old, according to U.K. researchers,”
“The findings are from a study that began following 411 South London boys who were 8 to 9 years old in 1961. Among those who at age 10 displayed antisocial behavior (such as skipping school or being troublesome or dishonest) and who also were convicted of a crime by the age of 18, one in six (16.3 percent) had died or become disabled by the time they turned 48.”
“That’s nearly seven times higher than the one in 40 (2.6 percent) death or disability rate among men who stayed out of trouble when they were young, the study authors noted in their report in the December issue of the Journal of Public Health.US News and World Report
Before science, people believed that cripples and blind people were evil, often possessed of evil spirits. The Devil was said to make people insane and witches caused withered limbs.
Those beliefs allowed the ignorant and superstitious to shun or isolate the disabled. Those views are still held by some religions but are not scientific. They are also contrary to the UN Convention on People with Disabilities and human rights principals.
"This study is nothing but old-wives tales and ignorant attitudes wrapped around pseudo-science,"
"Let’s look at the facts," added Pate. "It says the rate of disability and death at age 48, in the study group, was 16.3% for 'bad' kids versus 2.6% for 'good' kids in South London."
"The statistics are not accurate nor are they believable."
"The rate of disability in Canada at age 48 is 15.4%. The only time the rate of disability among the population is lower than 4% is for children up to age 4 years when it is 1.7%." (Statistics Canada Participation and Activity Limitation Survey 2006: Analytical Report Table 1)
"The rate of disability among "bad" boys at age 48 is normal for the population and the rate of disability for "good" boys is pure fiction," said Pate.
Canada’s rate of disability in the population is average for North America and Europe, and slightly lower than the UK. 14.3% of Canadians have a disability while 18% of people in the UK have a disability (National Statistics Online).
A 16.3% disability rate that is within one interval of the mean is not abnormal nor is it “nearly seven times higher.”
A study finding based a 411 person sample size in an area with 1.5 million people is statistically unreliable. Since the study results are only one interval from the mean, statistical theory says the sample size should be 9,500 not 411.
Along with being statistically improbable, the study does not indicate the other factors that influence early death and disability such as genetics, education, income level and type of employment.
Since the study is confined to a small part of one of the world’s largest cities, it also is not diverse enough to indicate anything that can be applied as a general finding of causal factors of disability.
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