Original research| Volume 99, ISSUE 7, P1289-1294, July 2018

Life Starts at Home: Bathing, Exertion and Participation for People With Mobility Impairment

Published:January 03, 2018DOI:



      To investigate the relationship between perceived exertion while bathing/dressing/grooming and associations with social-recreational activities outside the home for individuals with mobility impairment (MI).


      A 2-study approach was used to examine data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and primary data from the Health and Home Survey (HHS). The relationship between bathing/dressing/grooming and engagement in social-recreational activities was explored, as well as the role that exertion in the bathroom may play in participation in these activities.


      General community setting.


      For the ATUS survey, participants (n=6002) included individuals who reported an MI. For the HHS, 2 mail-based recruitment methods were used to recruit a sample of individuals with MI (n=170) across 3 geographically diverse U.S. communities.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Participation in social and recreational activities.


      People with MI (relative to those without MI) were less likely to report spending any time bathing/dressing/grooming on a given day, but spent more time when they did. People with MI reported higher exertion while bathing/dressing/grooming than people without. People with MI were less likely to leave the house or engage in social-recreational activities on days where they did not engage in bathing activities. People who reported greater exertion in the bathroom engaged in fewer social-recreational activities.


      Exertion in the bathroom may present a barrier to participation, indicating a relationship between exertion in the bathroom and social-recreational participation. Research that examines the impact of home modifications on exertion and participation is needed.


      List of abbreviations:

      ACS (American Community Survey), ATUS (American Time Use Survey), BCEQ (Brief Community Engagement Questionnaire), CI (Confidence interval), CIL (Center for Independent Living), HHS (Health and Home Survey), MI (Mobility impairment), OR (Odds ratio)
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