Monitoring Community Participation in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury

Annmarie Kelleher, MS, OTR/L, ATP1-2 , Rory A. Cooper, PhD,1-2 Eliana Chaves, PhD1-2 , Michelle Tolerico, MS1-2 , and Rosemarie Cooper, MPT1-2  
Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh 1
Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System 2


The overall aim of this study is to investigate if there is a correlation between mobility characteristics and the frequency of participating in community activities of individuals with SCI. The data logger, an objective measurement of movement, was unobtrusively attached to the participants’ wheelchairs. Participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire focusing on major life activities and community participation. Among manual wheelchair users, there was a significant positive correlation between speed and community participation, indicating that faster subjects tend to have higher levels of participation. There was also a significant positive correlation among power wheelchair users between average daily drive minutes and community participation, indicating that individuals who drive their wheelchair longer have higher levels of participation. Utilizing the objective data provided by the datalogger has the potential to enable clinicians to tailor their recommendations and facilitate training to enhance community participation of wheelchair users.


spinal cord injury, community participation


Funding for this research was provided by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury at the University of Pittsburgh (H133N000019).


Annmarie R. Kelleher, MS, OTR/L, ATP
Human Engineering Research Laboratories; VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System; 7180 Highland Drive, 151R1-H; Pittsburgh, PA 15206; 412-365-4850;