The Relationship Between Physical Function and Quality of Life Among Rural Youth with Disabilities

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Youth with disabilities are more likely to (a) experience difficulty in access to health care, (b) be overweight or obese, (c) have poor mental health and (d) receive less social-emotional support than individuals without disabilities. Specially, youth with functional limitations face significant barriers to physical activity participation in the community. Additionally, rural schools are less conducive to participation by students in school activities. Rural youth with disabilities face converging barriers to physical activity participation. As low physical activity participation contribute to decreased functionality and quality of life among youth without disabilities, these relationships may be compounded among youth with disabilities in a rural area.

Purpose: To examine the relationship between physical functioning and quality of life among youth with disabilities in a rural area.

Methods: Parents of youth of disabilities (N = 43; ages 10-21) in one rural county in southeast Georgia were solicited for participation in the study. Parent-reported versions of the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI) and Child Health and Illness Profile (CHIPs) were completed to examine parent-reported levels of functioning and quality of life. Means subscales for the PODCI and CHIPS were calculated and relationships among the means were examined via regression analyses.

Results: A regression analysis indicated a significant linear relation between Global Functioning Scale of the PODCI and the all CHIP domains of F(6, 29) = 3.11, p=.011. Looking at the coefficients of the parameters in the regression model, Parent Disorder Domain and Parent Risk Avoidance Domain were significant with p =.007 and p =.074 respectively. Moreover, an increase of one unit on the Parent Disorder Domain resulted in an addition of 29.4 points on the Global Functioning Scale, whereas an increase of one unit on the Parent Risk Avoidance Domain led to a reduction of 11.7 points.

Conclusions: Deficits in function correspond with low quality of life among youth with disabilities in the rural area.


American Academy of Sports Medicine Annual Conference (ACSM)


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