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To better understand how physical activity programs may contribute to improved health and social-support outcomes for people with intellectual disability, the authors conducted semistructured interviews with 11 people with intellectual disability and community-based volunteers in Brisbane, Australia. Three broad themes emerged: individual factors that generally facilitated activity, external factors that posed barriers to participation, and broader normative factors that directed participation. A key reflection arising out of the thematic analysis was that participants with intellectual disability and volunteers highlighted subtle but pervasive differences in barriers and facilitators to being active. Recommendations are provided for interventions aiming to improve physical activity and social support among those with intellectual disability. The authors’ research process demonstrates the utility of seeking the views of potential participants before program rollout to inform implementation and demonstrates the usefulness of a qualitative, actively inclusive approach to health interventions.
Brooker, McPherson, Ware, Lennox, and van Dooren are with the Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability (QCIDD), School of Medicine, and Mutch, the School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.