Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) tend to have low rates of participation in voluntary or prescribed physical activity. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to identify the barriers, facilitators, and needs influencing physical activity participation of adults with ID within the framework of a social ecological model. A qualitative approach consisted of data collected from surveys and guided focus groups. Participants included adults with ID (n = 6) and their primary caregiver (n = 6). Barriers were categorized under three themes: organizational barriers, individual constraints, and external influences. Examples of subthemes included information dissemination, reliance on others, and caregiver considerations. Facilitators included primary caregivers as champions and camaraderie. Needs centered on family program involvement, improved programmatic structure, and programmatic support. Results indicate the need for community programs to examine barriers and facilitators applicable to their unique setting and population across all levels of a social ecological model.
The authors are with the Dept. of Coaching and Teaching Studies, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.