Investigation of factors associated with manual wheelchair mobility in persons with spinal cord injury

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Mar;92(3):484-90. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.09.025.


Objective: To quantify wheelchair mobility of persons with a spinal cord injury (SCI), and to assess the relationship between wheelchair mobility and demographics, type of manual wheelchair, and participation.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Six Model Spinal Cord Injury Systems.

Participants: People (N=132) with SCI who use a manual wheelchair as their primary means of mobility.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Wheelchair-related mobility characteristics measured by a data-logging device, and community participation measured by the short form of the Craig Handicap Assessment Recording Technique (CHART).

Results: Age was found to be significantly (r=-.225, P<.01) related to average speed traveled per day. Whites were found to travel significantly further (P<.01) and accumulate more minutes per day (P<.01) compared with minorities. Participants who were employed traveled significantly further (P<.01), faster (P<.01), and for more minutes per day (P<.01) compared with those who were not employed. A moderate relationship (r=.245-.390) was found between wheelchair mobility data and CHART total score.

Conclusions: Results suggest a need for future investigation of the factors that influence wheelchair mobility and community participation of persons with SCI. Findings indicate the efficacy of a quantitative method to track wheelchair mobility in community settings, which could serve as a way of identifying community participation for persons with SCI and possibly uncovering additional aspects of participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Wheelchairs / statistics & numerical data*