Social participation of adults aging with long-term physical disabilities: A cross-sectional study investigating the role of transportation mode and urban vs rural living

Rachel Heeb Desai, Holly Hollingsworth, Susy Stark, Michelle Putnam, Amy Eyler, Aimee Wehmeier, Kerri Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Adults aging with long-term physical disabilities (AAwPDs) experience barriers in the built environment that can hinder their participation in meaningful social roles and activities. However, interventions addressing built environment barriers to participation for AAwPD are limited. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine how the built environment and other socioenvironmental factors influence the social participation of AAwPD to inform future interventions and service provision. We hypothesized that social participation would be significantly different between AAwPD using private versus public transportation and living in urban versus rural areas. Methods: This cross-sectional study of 331 Missouri-dwelling AAwPD reports findings on relationships among transportation mode, urban versus rural residence, and ability to participate in social roles and activities using PROMIS measures. A multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) explored differences in social participation across transportation mode and residential location. Linear regression examined associations among socioenvironmental factors, individual factors, and social participation. Results: The MANCOVA demonstrated significant differences in social participation across transportation mode and urban versus rural residential location. Specifically, AAwPD using paratransit and living in urban areas reported significantly higher social participation than rural-dwelling individuals and private transportation users (p < .001). The linear regression revealed that individual factors served a larger role in predicting social participation than built or social environmental factors. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that transportation mode plays a significant role in shaping social participation outcomes for AAwPD. However, compared to built and social environmental factors, individual factors (i.e., physical function, ‘aging-with-disability’ symptoms) may restrict social participation more.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101503
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Built environment
  • Disability
  • Social participation

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