Assessing Environmental Factors That Affect Disability: Establishing a Baseline of Visitability in a Rural State

Tom Seekins, Meg Ann Traci, Susan Cummings, Joanne Oreskovich, Craig Ravesloot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The homes in which people live are one element of the shared built environment. The concept of visitability describes features of private homes that provide a minimal level of accessibility, allowing a person with mobility impairments to visit the homes of family and friends. This study's aim was to establish a baseline rate of basic home visitability in Montana. Method: A visitability question was included as part of the 2004 Montana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Questionnaire, a random-digit-dialed telephone survey of 5,005 Montana adults. Results: Nearly 1 in 5 respondents (19.3%) said "a person who uses special equipment such as a wheelchair... could get into [their] house without being carried up steps or over other obstacles." Respondents with a disability who reported living in a visitable house were less likely than those who did not live in a visitable house to report any days of poor mental health in the past month. Conclusion: The BRFSS affords the opportunity to measure elements of the community environment important to the health and life quality of people with disabilities. Here, BRFSS data provided a baseline rate for visitable homes in the state. Strategies to increase this number are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-84
Number of pages5
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2008

Keywords

  • access
  • environment
  • health
  • home modification
  • surveillance

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