Investigation of factors associated with manual wheelchair mobility in persons with spinal cord injury

Michelle L. Oyster, Amol M. Karmarkar, Mary Patrick, Mary Schmidt Read, Lori Nicolini, Michael L. Boninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Objective To quantify wheelchair mobility of persons with a spinal cord injury (SCI), and to assess the relationship between wheelchair mobility and demographics, type of manual wheelchair, and participation. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Six Model Spinal Cord Injury Systems. Participants People (N=132) with SCI who use a manual wheelchair as their primary means of mobility. Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Wheelchair-related mobility characteristics measured by a data-logging device, and community participation measured by the short form of the Craig Handicap Assessment Recording Technique (CHART). Results Age was found to be significantly (r=.225, P<.01) related to average speed traveled per day. Whites were found to travel significantly further (P<.01) and accumulate more minutes per day (P<.01) compared with minorities. Participants who were employed traveled significantly further (P<.01), faster (P<.01), and for more minutes per day (P<.01) compared with those who were not employed. A moderate relationship (r=.245.390) was found between wheelchair mobility data and CHART total score. Conclusions Results suggest a need for future investigation of the factors that influence wheelchair mobility and community participation of persons with SCI. Findings indicate the efficacy of a quantitative method to track wheelchair mobility in community settings, which could serve as a way of identifying community participation for persons with SCI and possibly uncovering additional aspects of participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-490
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Community participation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Wheelchairs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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