UBC Faculty Research and Publications

‘One Step at a Time, One Day at a Time’ : Life Profiles of Individuals with Disabilities across the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic Mamman, Rinni; Mohammadi, Somayyeh; Rash, Isabelle; Esfandiari, Elham; Miller, William C.; Mortenson, W. Ben; Schmidt, Julia


Individuals with disabilities underwent substantial changes in life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, little is known about the experiences of this population during the first year of the pandemic. Hence, drawing on data from a longitudinal mixed-methods study, this study aimed to identify different COVID-19 life profiles among people with disabilities. Sixty-one participants were interviewed at four timepoints, which paralleled restriction changes in British Columbia, Canada. These data were analyzed to identify different life profiles over the course of the first year of the pandemic. The analysis identified three interlinked profiles: (1) ‘being in a straitjacket’ examines the increasing restriction-related frustrations experienced by participants; (2) ‘seizing the reins’ explores the positive routines that participants established by filling the gaps with meaningful activities; and (3) ‘staying content during COVID’ describes a ‘keep calm, carry on’ attitude, where minimal impact of the pandemic was observed by participants. The three COVID-19 life profiles provide insight to the challenges encountered, resources used, and the varying experiences of individuals with disabilities as they adjusted to a different way of living. These findings can facilitate future research that could develop interventions and services for individuals with disabilities in subsequent pandemics or disasters.

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