Identifying built environment factors influencing the community participation of adults aging with long-term physical disabilities: a qualitative study

Rachel Heeb Desai, Emily Hamlin, Amy Eyler, Michelle Putnam, Susan Stark, Kerri Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study qualitatively explored how adults aging with long-term physical disabilities perceive the built environment to influence their community participation. A convenience sample of community-dwelling adults with long-term physical disabilities ages 45–65 participated in virtual semi-structured interviews until thematic saturation was reached (n = 20). Data were analyzed using interpretive phenomenological analysis. Five themes were identified: vigilance and sense of safety, accessibility of and access to transportation, community environment accessibility, sense of community, and access to support, spaces, and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple participants described their neighborhoods as unsafe and reported not leaving their homes in months due to inaccessible home entrances or pandemic-related concerns. These results enhance our understanding of how this population perceives environmental barriers to community participation, particularly in low-resourced neighborhoods during the COVID-19 pandemic. These results may inform researchers, community organizations, and funding agencies in intervention development and implementation to address built environment barriers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • aging
  • Built environment
  • community participation
  • physical disability

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