Subjective Well-being and Disability in Russia: The Test of The Social Model
Prior research has indicated severe discrepancies in the levels of subjective well-being between people with and without disabilities. Given the Russian Government ratified the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and thus committed itself to ensuring equal opportunities for citizens with disabilities, it is important to understand how those discrepancies can be explained and addressed. This study seeks to test whether it is the disability itself that hinders subjective well-being of disabled persons in Russia, or rather the social and economic consequences of ableist inequity, as the social model of disability would suggest. For this purpose, a series of multiple regression models was designed using data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) which included the following blocks of independent variables: disability status, demographic background (gender, age, level of education, and marital status), economic position (relative in-come, purchasing power, and workforce participation) and social exclusion (loneliness, respect, and online networking). The findings indicate that the differences in subjective well-being are fully absorbed by social exclusion and financial situation rather than disability status. Thus, it can be argued that more attention should be paid by Russian policymakers to the promotion of social inclusion, combating stigma and raising public awareness on the topic, as well as employment strategies for people with disabilities that could provide them with an opportunity to improve their financial position, which should replace charitable interventions.