Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):14, 1, 52, 209-215
Study examined the relationship between the type of mobility devices used and social participation in wheelchairs users who have spinal cord injuries (SCI). It was hypothesized that using wheelchairs with external power and driving a modified vehicle (MV), with or without driving in a wheelchair, facilitates social participation for wheelchairs users with SCI. Data were collected from 2,986 individuals who had undergone rehabilitation at one of the regional centers of the Model SCI System in the United States. Participants used a wheelchair 40 or more hours per week and could not ambulate at least 150 feet at home. A secondary data analysis was performed using a mixed-effect model on data from 3,498 follow-up interviews. Outcomes included participation as measured by the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique-Short Form (CHART-SF) and employment status, and wheelchair and MV use. Among the participants, 33 percent drove an MV, and 44 percent used an external-powered wheelchair. The use of an MV was positively related to employment and CHART-SF score, regardless of driving directly or driving with a wheelchair. People who drove an MV were found to have approximately two more business associates to contact to once a month and approximately 2 additional days out of home per week compared with those without an MV. No significant association was shown between the type of wheelchair used and participation.