Receptivity of adults with a spinal cord injury towards videoconference-delivered physical activity peer support programs


Background: Internet-based communication platforms (ICPs) provide a convenient and cost-effective medium for facilitating physical activity (PA) support. These resources can overcome time and space barriers reported by individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI). Objective: To understand level of participation and receptivity towards videoconference-delivered PA peer support programs (VPAS) among PA intenders and actors living with a SCI. Methods: Participants (N=30; Mage = 45.27 ± 10.63 years; Myears post-injury = 20.50 ± 12.30 years; 73.3% male; 50% tetraplegia; 20% PA actors) completed an online questionnaire to assess: 1) general participation in ICPs; 2) attitudes towards using ICPs; and 3) preferences, barriers and needs about participating in VPAS groups. Descriptive statistics, independent t-tests and chi-square tests were used for analysis. Results: Email messaging was the most commonly used ICP (96.7%); videoconferencing was ranked fourth highest (50%). ICPs were perceived as somewhat (50%) or completely (33.3%) valuable and enjoyable. Frequently selected appealing and unappealing ICP attributes were real-time communication (63.3%) and lack of personal connection (46.7%), respectively. The majority (60%) of the sample reported interest in a VPAS program. Most participants preferred the support group to include peers with similar PA goals (73.3%) and injury level (66.7%). No differences were found for sample demographics (e.g., injury level) on any videoconference platform preferences. Conclusion: Videoconferencing appears to be a potentially appealing approach for engaging in PA support among intenders and actors living with a SCI. The confirmation of receptivity is a key first step prior to a VPAS intervention.