Exploring the relationship between quality and quantity of participation in an online community-based exercise program


The Quality Participation (QP) Framework suggests that repeated subjectively positive (i.e., quality) experiences may foster sustained participation (i.e., quantity) for individuals with disabilities in community-based exercise programs (CBEPs). However, the relationship between quality and quantity of participation in CBEPs is unknown. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between quality and quantity of participation in an exercise setting. Individuals (n=17) with a physical disability engaged in Revved Up @ Home, a 10-week online CBEP designed to foster QP. Participants completed global questionnaires at baseline and 10-weeks, and acute questionnaires following each exercise session to evaluate QP. Program attendance was monitored longitudinally. At 10-weeks, graphs of acute survey responses were shown to participants in a semi-structured interview (i.e., graphic elicitation) and participants were asked about their QP and program attendance. Data were analyzed using a mixed-methods sequential explanatory approach situated in critical realism. Correlations across the 10-weeks were computed to quantify the relationship of interest, while thematic analysis facilitated an exploration of the contextual relationship between quality and quantity of participation, and quantitative and qualitative findings were integrated. Correlations and participant experiences highlighted that four aspects of QP (meaning, belongingness, mastery, and challenge) were related to attendance. Findings provide preliminary evidence that repeated quality experiences may lead to QP and detail a contextual understanding of the relationships between the aspects of QP. This study helps program providers understand links within the QP Framework, to enhance CBEPs' ability to bolster QP and attendance among individuals with physical disabilities.

Acknowledgments: This study was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, in the form of an Insight Development Grant (awarded to JRT) and a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (awarded to JDS).