Living with a physical disability is a personal and social process. Increasingly, research has shown that the presence of disability affects family formation, education and employment trajectories and outcomes. This raises questions about why life trajectories and outcomes of disabled people are variable and how individual agency and social processes affect life outcomes. In this qualitative study these issues are explored using interview findings of ten women and ten men with early and adult onset disabilities. Findings indicate that those with early onset often experience disrupted education trajectories and unpaid work histories. Those with adult onset disabilities have disrupted work trajectories, with women reporting greater rates of divorce or delayed childbearing as a result of disability. The value of this research comes from recognizing that age of disability onset and gender have distinct consequences on life course experiences and outcomes.
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