OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Researchers to study fitness issues in persons with disabilities

11/13/2000

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University researchers are seeking volunteers for a new nationwide study on physical activity and access to fitness programs for persons with disabilities.

This study is part of a national project called the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Health and Wellness for Individuals with Long-term Disabilities. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitative Research.

In the study, OSU researchers will survey adults with disabilities from around the country to find out how active they are physically, if there are physical, psychological or socio-economic factors preventing them from seeking physical activity, and what their feelings are about fitness and related activities.

"One of the goals is to see what factors may influence behavioral change to help persons with disabilities become more active and, ultimately, enjoy a higher degree of health and wellness," said Jeff McCubbin, a professor of exercise and sport science at OSU and a nationally recognized expert in movement studies in disability.

Study volunteers will be asked to complete a survey, by mail or on the Web, that will address a number of fitness-related issues. Volunteers should be adults of all fitness levels - including inactive - with a disability that limits mobility. Those disabilities may include multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, amputation, cerebral palsy, post-polio syndrome and others.

Brad Cardinal, an assistant professor of exercise and sport science at OSU, has studied the "roller coaster" effect of individuals beginning workout regimens and said the principals may apply to persons with disabilities.

"There are some key steps in changing behavior that begin with thinking about the process, followed by preparation, commitment and action," Cardinal said. "Recognizing the stages of behavioral change is important to the long-term success of activity so that first effort is not an all-or-nothing thing." Data from the study will be used to develop an education and activity model for promoting fitness in persons with disabilities.

To participate in the study or to receive more information, contact Brad Cardinal by telephone (541-737-2506), e-mail (Brad.Cardinal@orst.edu) or mail (Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331).