In the paper, Repke and Ipsen analyze survey data from the
Reform and Disability Survey to explore how a number of factors are related
to social participation and perceived isolation for people with disabilities,
and to see if there are differences for those who live in rural vs urban areas.
These factors include number of disabilities, self-rated health, employment
status, and living arrangements (alone or with others).
Previous studies have compared social isolation to smoking
in terms of risk to public health. Some groups of people have a much higher
risk of social isolation, including people with disabilities and rural
residents. This research builds on previous work by considering how the
potentially compounding effects of disability status and living in a rural area
may affect social participation and perceived isolation.
Approximately 10 million
people with disabilities receive paid personal assistance services (PAS) in the
United States. For many, these services are critical for social and community
participation. However, little is known about rural-urban differences in PAS
delivery and consumption, and how these services influence community
participation and health.
To address this lack of understanding, RTC:Rural is conducting research on PAS in rural America.
The Rural Transportation Options project, which will help
build a more complete understanding of how rural people with disabilities use
public and other forms of accessible transportation, is getting ready to begin
a pilot survey. Paper surveys will be available on public buses in Park County,
Montana later this year. There are also options to take the survey online, or
to call in and take it over the phone.
The survey includes questions about what type of
transportation the participant is using for the current trip, the purpose of
their trip, if the trip was scheduled ahead of time, and types of
transportation used in the last 30 days.
“This brief ridership survey will help us: 1) understand how
people use public transit in Park County, MT and 2) shape our survey materials
and procedures for dissemination nationwide,” said Andrew Myers, RTC:Rural
Over the past semester, RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen worked with University of Montana (UM) undergraduate Nelson Weaver on his senior capstone project about the effects of loneliness on the aging population. Weaver’s poster presentation won a best presentation award at UM’s Conference of Undergraduate Research. He graduated in May 2018 with a major in psychology and a minor in communication studies.
Weaver contacted Ipsen about his interest in psychology and well-being of those experiencing mental and physical impairments and asked about possible capstone research opportunities. “This inquiry came at the perfect time,” said Ipsen. “I was juggling lots of projects, but wanted to make headway on a grant proposal idea focused on aging and health impacts of loneliness. Nelson was the perfect fit.”
Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director, and Erin Flores,
a former sociology undergraduate researcher at the University of Montana who
graduated in 2018, recently co-authored a book chapter on the accessibility of
rural community events. The chapter, titled “Disability and rural events: The cultural reproduction of inclusion and
exclusion” is in Marginalisation and Events, which
was published in January 2019 by Routledge.
“Rural community events are a time when community members
are able to see how they are part of something bigger than their own individual
experience,” said Sage. “Seeing friends and family and participating in
activities that promote community identity helps sustain community and
On April 23, Dr. Meredith Repke, RTC:Rural Research
Associate, will present findings from the Rural
Access to Health Insurance and Health Care study, a partnership
between RTC:Rural and the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living
(CHRIL), at the 2019 NARRTC conference.
This year’s conference theme is “Inclusive Disability Research and Practice:
Building on our History.” The study is being led by RTC:Rural Director Dr.
Repke is presenting as part of a panel of researchers on the
project who are sharing different findings from the 2018 National Survey on
Health Reform and Disability (NSHRD). CHRIL conducted the survey to understand
how changes in health care reimbursement strategies affect working-age people
with disabilities in terms of access to health insurance, as well as associated
health care and quality of life outcomes. RTC:Rural researchers helped recruit
people with disabilities from rural areas, and will use their data to answer
some rural-specific questions.
Looking for information on accessible transportation or
housing? Or for strategies to help you talk about your disability in a job
interview? Need some tips on how to find a personal care assistant, or on how
to do your taxes?
For all those and more, check out the Rural Disability Resource Library. It contains fact sheets, how-to guides, information for conducting workshops, web resources, and much more!
In attendance were RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Director and Research Advisor Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Knowledge Broker Dr. Meg Ann Traci, and Project Directors Dr. Rayna Sage and Andrew Myers attended. Dr. Traci, Dr. Sage, and Myers gave a combined six presentations on Rural Institute and RTC:Rural research. Continue reading →
RTC:Rural heads to Denver, Colorado this October for the annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference. The conference will be October 5 – 8, and the theme is “Roots of Change Grow a Mile High.”
As well as sharing information and resources at vendor tables, RTC:Rural staff will meet with national partners, share research updates, and gather input that will help shape future research projects. We have a long-standing partnership with APRIL, and are looking forward to coming together to continue to support people with disabilities so they can participate in their rural communities. Continue reading →
How a space is organized shapes how you use that space. There have been many studies on how the built environment, which includes everything from roads and sidewalks to buildings and parking lots, impacts how people move through and engage with their community. We know that physical barriers in the community, such as stairs, curbs, narrow building entrances, broken sidewalks, and long travel routes can prevent people with mobility impairments from accessing community spaces and limits their ability to move around their community independently.
By removing these barriers, people with disabilities have more opportunities to do things like buy groceries, attend school, be employed, go to the doctor, and socialize or recreate as they wish. Fewer barriers in the environment can mean more opportunities for community participation. Continue reading →