Participation of People With Physical Disabilities: Three-Year Trend and Potential for Improvement

Published:January 10, 2013DOI:



      To provide an insight into developments in participation over the period 2008 to 2010 among Dutch people with physical disabilities and into their demands for additional participation.


      Trend study with additional cross-sectional survey.


      Community-dwelling people with physical disabilities.


      A sample of 1868 (2008), 1900 (2009), and 2163 (2010) people (≥15y) with mild, moderate, or severe physical disability.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Eight indicators of participation within International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health domains: use of neighborhood facilities, going out of the house, having paid work, performing volunteer services, visiting leisure facilities, performing club activities, meeting friends, and use of public transport.


      No increase in participation rates was found over the years 2008 to 2010. In 2010, 18% of the people who did not have a paid job wanted to work, especially younger (<40y) people and more highly educated people, 30% wanted to do more activities in their leisure time, and 23% wanted more social contacts. People who did not participate in a specific activity in 2010 were more likely to have a desire for additional participation than were people who already participated. People with severe disability were less likely to want work; however, they did express a wish to increase their social activities.


      Although no increase in participation was found, this does not imply that participation rates among people with physical disabilities have already reached optimal levels. Respondents' stated wish for additional participation provides potential for improvement. Further research should focus on individual values, participation appraisal, and interaction between individual and environmental characteristics to enhance participation.


      List of abbreviations:

      ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health), NPCD (National Panel of people with Chronic illness or Disability)
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