Willi Horner-Johnson, Ph.D., Charles E. Drum, J.D., Ph.D., Nasreen Abdullah, M.P.H.
People with disabilities face a range of health disparities, including increased risk for preventable health problems. Thus, health promotion efforts addressing the reduction of risk factors are especially important for this population.
This study examined changes in health behaviors among adults with disabilities following participation in the Healthy Lifestyles for People with Disabilities health promotion program. It was hypothesized that intervention participants would demonstrate significant increases in healthy behaviors in areas such as health responsibility, physical activity, nutrition, stress management, interpersonal relationships, and spiritual growth while controls would not show significant change.
Participants (n = 95) were randomly assigned to the intervention or to a wait-list. After initially serving as controls, wait-list members later received the intervention as well. A measure of health behaviors was completed at baseline, 4 months, 7 months, and 10 months.
Health behavior scores of immediate intervention participants increased significantly (p <.001) while the scores of wait-list members showed no significant change. After subsequently attending a Healthy Lifestyles workshop, scores of wait-list participants also increased significantly (p = .001).
The Healthy Lifestyles intervention appears to be successful in helping adults with disabilities increase healthy behaviors.