People with mobility impairments: Physical activity and quality of participation

Angela Crawford, M.S.O.T./S., Holly H. Hollingsworth, Ph.D., Kerri Morgan, M.S.O.T., O.T.R./L., David B. Gray, Ph.D.

Program in Occupational Therapy and Department of Neurology, Washington University, School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA

Disability and Health Journal, January 2008 Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 7–13



We sought to describe the characteristics of physical activity levels, health, community integration, and social participation of people with mobility impairments.


Based on responses to a participation survey, respondents, located primarily in the Midwestern United States, were divided into 3 physical activity groups: high, low, and inactive. We chose a purposeful sample of 604 people with mobility limitations who had a diagnosis of spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, or poliomyelitis. The Participation Survey/Mobility (PARTS/M) was used to measure participation in 6 domains and 20 different activities, the Physical Activity and Health Status (SF-36) was used to measure health and quality of life, and the Reintegration to Normal Living Index (RNL) was used to measure integration into the community.


People with mobility impairments who were identified as having a high level of physical activity reported greater participation, better health, and a higher level of reintegration to normal community living compared with participants who described their physical activity level as low or inactive.


Positive health status and superior community participation were found in a high physical activity group compared with low active or inactive groups of people with mobility impairments and limitations.