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Development of an Instrument to Promote Physical Activity in Persons with Arthritis

Project Overview

Why is this study needed?

Persons with arthritis are at high risk for inactivity and consequent functional limitations, dependence on others to accomplish basic activities of daily living and reduced participation in employment opportunities and independent community living. Few persons with arthritis meet the Surgeon General's recommended guidelines for physical activity due to a variety of factors including pain and fatigue. Physical activity assessments examine how much activity people do but not factors that influence the level of activity. Providing treatment that supports persons with arthritis to be more physically active is limited in part because no comprehensive assessment tool is available that examines supports and barriers to participation in lifestyle physical activity.

How will this study help patients and rehabilitation stakeholders?

The knowledge gained from this study has the potential to help persons with arthritis and care providers develop individualized treatment plans and interventions that enhance full participation in lifestyle physical activities. The findings from the proposed study will lay the ground work for future research investigating therapeutic opportunities to promote participation in physical activities.

What are the project objectives?

The objective of this study is to validate and refine an assessment and communication instrument, the Arthritis Comprehensive Treatment Assessment (ACTA).

How will the project objectives be achieved?

The ACTA is a collaborative communication instrument that identifies supports and barriers to participation in lifestyle physical activities. The ACTA consists of a 15-20 minute semi-structured interview, and 28 items rated on a four-point rating scale. This study will examine the ACTA's applicability, validity and reliability in persons with arthritis. Participants will be individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis. They will be recruited from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Arthritis Center, interviewed with the ACTA, and complete a computer-assisted telephone interview that includes arthritis severity, impairment, quality of life, amount of regular physical activity, and demographic characteristics. Responses to the ACTA will be analyzed using both classical test theory and Rasch rating scale analysis (item response theory). These analyses will help evaluate the adequacy of item functioning, rater reliability and severity, scale content, structure and length, reliability and applicability to persons with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Participants' ACTA measures will be validated against level of physical activity as measured by self-report and electronic monitoring. The final product will be an assessment of supports and barriers to participation on physical activity for persons with arthritis. A packet of training materials will be developed that includes a training manual and a videotaped interview for care providers.

What agency funded the project?

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)

What is the duration of the project?

September 10, 2004 - May 31, 2005

Project Staff

Principal Investigator:

Trudy Mallinson, Ph.D., Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Contact Information

For researchers and students
Trudy Mallinson, Ph.D.
312-238-1623

For members of the media
312-238-6044