Active Living Research: Overview
Active Living Research is a research project designed by the American Foundation for the Blind, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The project began in December 2004, and the final data were collected in July 2006. Data are being analyzed, and some preliminary findings are available here (see links below).
The goal of AFB's Active Living Research has been to learn more about the relationship between the environment—built, natural, and attitudinal—and access to physical activity and social participation.
Specifically, the Active Living Research study is interested in what barriers or facilitators people face when they navigate their community using assistive mobility technologies (AMTs). Please see the executive summary for more information on the research aims and design.
AFB included people who use four different types of AMTs: manual wheelchairs, motorized wheelchairs, dog guides, and long canes. All study participants lived in one of the five boroughs of New York City and were at least 18 years of age.
Data were gathered using both quantitative and qualitative methods. A preliminary closed-ended telephone survey was conducted to determine physical activity and social participation levels, as well as to gain an initial understanding of barriers and participants' relationships to their AMTs (N=188) (Phase I). From that sample, 32 individuals (8 users of each type of AMT) participated in the "intensive" qualitative phase, where they were interviewed in their homes by a researcher and were observed traveling in their neighborhood, doing an activity they would normally do (Phase II). Participants were also given adapted pedometers to wear and record their physical activity for 7 days.
In the final phase of the study, data from Phase II were analyzed and used to write a second telephone survey (Phase III). The Phase III survey was also a closed-ended survey, and explored issues surrounding environmental and societal barriers, transit use, social participation, emergency preparedness, and community activism.