Online Program

Participation outcomes of an internet-based physical activity program for adults with physical disabilities

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 5:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Carolyn Lullo, PhD, Carter Consulting, Inc, Atlanta, GA
While research has demonstrated effectiveness of internet-based physical activity (PA) programs in the general population, understanding of their effectiveness for people with disabilities is limited. This study used mixed methods to examine the outcomes of participating in a 14-week internet-based educational/motivational program designed to increase PA participation among adults with physical disabilities. Self-report web surveys were used to measure PA (minutes/week), self-efficacy, perceived benefits and barriers, and physical activity enjoyment at baseline and 14 weeks. Semi-structured phone interviews were used to measure participants' perceptions of the program's impact at mid-point and 14 weeks. Among study participants who completed the post surveys (n=106; age: 47.2±13.3 years; 85.6% female; 76.7% Caucasian), there were significant increases in PA levels from pre to post-test [moderate: F(1,101)=28.675, p<0.01; vigorous: F(1,100)=23.147, p<0.01; total: F(1,98)=27.133, p<0.01]. Self-efficacy significantly decreased [F(1,104)=4.118, p<0.05], and time-related barriers [F(1,104)=8.100, p<0.01] and enjoyment [F(1,104)=17.648, p<0.01] significantly increased. As reported in the phone interviews (n=47), participants perceived improvements in psychosocial mediators (knowledge, awareness, and self-efficacy), PA levels, and health status (general health, medication use, psychological status, weight loss, and physical function). They also saw the program as a catalyst for community participation and new activities. These qualitative findings indicate additional variables that could be incorporated into similar internet-based program evaluations to more fully understand program impact. Taken together, these results suggest the promise of internet-based programs for achieving large scale improvements in health outcomes for people with disabilities.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the need and potential for internet-based programs designed to meet the needs of individuals with physical disabilities. Describe the outcomes resulting from participation in a 14-week internet-based physical activity program for adults with physical disabilities. Identify ways to improve research designed to understand the impact of internet-based physical activity programs.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have participated in several research projects focusing on physical activity for adults with disabilities. The submitted abstract represents a portion of my dissertation work, which I will be defending February 26, 2013. I have academic and professional background and experience in kinesiology. I worked at the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability for four years prior to starting a fellowship in Disability and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.