Project 2: Participation-Focused Longitudinal Cohort Study of Individuals Aging with a Long-Term Physical Disability

What is this project about?

People aging with long-term physical disabilities (PAwLTPD) begin to show health-related signs of aging at an earlier age than the general population. PAwLTPD are often excluded from research, so there are few studies exploring changes in participation as adults with disabilities age. There is also limited research exploring how personal and environmental factors affect community participation for PAwLTPD.

Project Goals

  1. Look at how participation changes for PAwLTPD over three years.
  2. Look at how receiving long-term supportive services affects how much PAwLTPD participate in their communities.

What does this study involve?

We recruited 475 people who were between the ages of 45 and 65 and had been living with a physical disability for at least five years to complete one 30-minute survey every three years. Surveys were collected online and over the phone.


We have completed the first two years of our cohort study and are contacting participants for the Year 3 follow-up survey.  We also developed a supplemental survey in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to learn more about how the pandemic is affecting the participation of PAwLTPD. We are currently analyzing the results of the data from the first two years of the survey, as well as the supplemental COVID survey, and are preparing manuscripts to share our findings.