Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Public Health (M.P.H.)


Public Health

First Advisor

Jeffrey Wing

Second Advisor

Heather Wallace

Third Advisor

Andrew Haig

Academic Year



Background: The aim of recreational therapy, like all rehabilitation therapies, is to promote the functionality and well-being of a person with disability. However, unlike other forms of therapy, recreational therapy utilizes a unique approach to rehabilitation by incorporating meaningful daily life activities into the patient’s individualized rehabilitation plan. Gains in functionality can be quantified using a Likert scale measurement Functional Independence Measures (FIM®). Previously conducted research shows a positive association between recreational therapy services and functionality gains in specific populations of persons with disability with stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury being most heavily represented. Problem: Research gaps exist pertaining to the association between therapy services and functionality (change between admission and discharge) in the all-cause disability population. Purpose: To determine the association between therapy services received by persons with disabilities and the magnitude of change in functionality outcomes observed in a broader population of disabled individuals. Results: A positive association between recreational therapy and functionality outcomes was observed with a 5.48 higher average improvement in overall FIM® score in patients having received recreational therapy services. Conclusions: The addition of recreational therapy to the rehabilitation standard is important in improvement of physical functionality and reduction of physical barriers for daily living.

Available for download on Saturday, August 24, 2019

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