Researchers have measured several outcome variables central to the individual-environment interaction, including community integration, engagement, and participation. With few exceptions, however, efforts to evaluate interactions have used relatively static methods that do not capture dynamic individual-environment relationships.
Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methods can be used to evaluate participation as it occurs, across time and situations. Typically, EMA involves recording events and behaviors as they occur using a handheld device such as a personal data assistant, smart phone, or iPod. Unlike retrospective measures that are susceptible to recall bias, EMA captures stimuli within time and place or within the relevant environment.
The EMA study focused on the development and evaluation of an EMA measure to assess participation as an outcome variable. For the study, we defined participation as a series of engagements between an individual and his or her environment, where engagements are instances of activity within an environmental context. At each data collection point, we collected data about place, activity, social contact, environmental barriers and facilitators, secondary conditions, and feelings of community connectedness and fulfillment. This data was used to construct a picture of participation that varies along dimensions of the rate of engagements, variety of contexts in which an individual is engaged, the duration and intensity of activities, and the meanings people attach to those engagements.
- Project dates: 2003-2008
- Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. H133B030501
- Principal staff: Tom Seekins, Ph.D., Nancy Arnold, Ph.D., Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D.
- Related projects: