Choice: what, when and why? Exploring the importance of choice to disabled people

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extending choice and control over public services is central to current policies in England. Such policies have immense potential for independence and well-being. However, it is still not clear how disabled people conceptualise choices, what choices are important, for which groups of people, in what areas of life and why. This paper presents findings from the first phase of a longitudinal qualitative study of choice and control over the life-course. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 111 participants including disabled young people with progressive conditions; their parents; adults and older people with fluctuating support needs and those experiencing sudden deterioration in health. The findings suggest that while most people across all study groups wanted to be able to make choices in all areas of their lives, there are significant differences in the importance they attach to specific choices. The findings have implications for service reforms and identify some policy and practice issues that need to be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-839
Number of pages13
JournalDisability & Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • disabled people
  • older people
  • choice and control
  • public services
  • independence and well-being
  • CARE

Cite this