Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Public Health (M.P.H.)

Degree Program

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.

Included in

Public Health Commons