People with disabilities experience secondary conditions that are associated with poor employment outcomes. Past research indicates that many of these secondary conditions can be managed through participation in health promotion programs. Unfortunately, access to programs is limited for people with disabilities who are not employed or live in rural communities with access barriers related to distance, time, and availability. The Health Plans to Employment (HPE) project was designed to address these access issues by developing on online self-directed health promotion intervention.
The HPE is an interactive health promotion website that includes health behavior change content and tailored action planning in the areas of stress management, physical activity, nutrition, and sleep/relaxation. Program participants recruited from Vocational Rehabilitation consumers (n = 222) experienced significant reductions in limitation from secondary health conditions, fewer prevalence days of poor physical and mental health, and higher ratings of health promoting lifestyle behaviors over the six month study span. This is important because evidence suggests that reducing the rate of secondary health conditions can help people with disabilities gain or maintain employment (Ipsen, Seekins, & Arnold, 2011). Application of the HPE within the VR system is a natural fit because VR serves a significant portion of unemployed people with disabilities, who may lack access to employer-sponsored health promotion initiatives. Finally, due to the low-cost and easy scalability of the HPE application, there are many additional venues for promoting health promotion access for people with disabilities such as Centers of Independent Living, rural health clinics, and employers.
- Project dates: 2008-2013
- Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. H133B080023
- Principal staff: Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D., Casey Ruggiero, Ph.D., Bethany Rigles, M.A., Nancy Arnold, Ph.D.
- Related projects:
- Consumer Self-Managed Use of Rural Healthcare Services
- Ecological Decision Support for Health Promotion
- Living Well with a Disability
- Pain Interference Patterns
- Peer Support for Rural Mental Health
- Peer Support for Secondary Mental Health Conditions
- Secondary Conditions
- Working Well with a Disability