Participation in physical activity: what really matters to adolescents with physical disability?

Being physically active is hugely important for health. It improves physical and mental wellbeing and reduces the risk of health problems in adulthood. Young people with physical disability, especially adolescents, do less physical activity than their peers. We want to learn more about how we can support adolescents with physical disability to take part in physical activity. 

The aim of this study is to find out how adolescents with physical disability in Ireland are currently taking part in physical activity, and to understand their priorities for future participation. 

Through Children’s Network Disability Teams around Ireland, we will invite 100 young people age 13-18 who have a physical disability to take part in our study. Firstly, we will invite them to tell us about the physical activity they currently do, and factors that affect this. Secondly, we will invite them to take part in a survey with four rounds, called a Delphi survey, designed with our Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) panel of young people who have disabilities themselves. In this survey, participants will tell us about what matters most to them for taking part in physical activity now and into the future. By combining these responses into categories and asking the participants to pick their favourite categories, we will identify and agree their Top 10 Priorities for Physical Activity Participation. All parts of this study can be done online or by phone. 

To share the information widely, our PPI panel and a graphic designer will develop an infographic and a short video. This will help healthcare professionals and the wider community to understand how they could support young people with physical disabilities to enjoy taking part in physical activity, so they can get all the health benefits of physical activity as they grow to be adults.

Award Date
01 July 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Ailish Malone
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
HRCI-HRB Joint Funding Scheme