Exploring the measurement of quality participation over time in exercise for persons with physical disabilities


The Quality Participation (QP) framework suggests six aspects comprise quality experiences for persons with disabilities: autonomy, belongingness, challenge, engagement, mastery, and meaning. Quality experiences are believed to vary depending on the individual, the context, and over time; postulations that are supported by qualitative research. The Measure of Experiential Aspects of Participation (MeEAP) is a 12-item scale developed to assess the aspects of QP. Despite psychometric support for the MeEAP in other life domains, preliminary research in the exercise domain identified a problematic factor structure. This project sought to explore, over three sequential studies, the measurement of quality experiences in exercise for persons with physical disabilities. The first two studies utilized confirmatory factor analysis to assess the fit of the MeEAP in an exercise context; the first sample (N=263) was national and cross-sectional, while the second was a smaller, longitudinal sample of members of a community-based exercise program (N=18). In both samples, the aspect of meaning showed considerable statistical overlap with the other aspects. In the final study, 12-month intensive longitudinal data from a community-based exercise program (N=8) were used to construct individual-level dynamic structural equation models that provide rich evidence regarding how QP aspects correlated uniquely for each participant involved. The models provide quantitative evidence for key considerations of the QP framework: the aspects of quality experiences vary over time, across individuals, and are interrelated. Future research is warranted to explore whether the observed statistical overlap of meaning with the other QP aspects reflects conceptual overlap in the exercise domain.

Acknowledgments: Funding from this project comes from three Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grants: a Partnership Grant for the Canadian Disability Participation Project awarded to KMG, an Insight Development Grant awarded to JRT, and a Canada Graduate Scholarship awarded to LCK