Health-Promoting Physical Activity through Virtual Reality

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Vision and Goals


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Goal Statement

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According to Carroll, et al., (2014), only 11% of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) engage in recommended levels of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) compared to 57% of the general population. Reasons vary, but include factors such as physical limitations, psycho-social constraints, and mental health issues (Barnes, et al., 2013; Devine, 2015). However, improvements in these health variables for people with I/DD result from regular participation in LTPA (Cooney, Dawn, & Mead, 2014). While prior studies have identified general barriers and facilitators toLTPA for this population, identification of barriers or facilitators in specific contexts is lacking. Virtual reality (VR) is one methodology that can be used to examine specific LTPA contexts as it is an engaging and realistic medium. People with I/DD sometimes have low levels of literacy, but they have responded well in prior research to technology-delivered content for educational purposes (Mechling, Gast, & Fields, 2008).


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Project Overview


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Dr. Mary Ann Devine
Examining barriers experienced by individuals with physical or sensory impairments
Dr. Gokarna Sharma
Pattern Analysis and Variable Design for Virtual Reality Recreation System Development
Dr Jong-Hoon Kim
Dr. Jong-Hoon Kim
Immersive Media Enhancement for Virtual Reality Recreation System Development
Dr. Anthony Vander Horst
Structural Equation Modeling, Quantitative Research Evaluation and Measurement
Alfred Shaker
VR System Development (Ph.D. Student)
Xiangxu Lin
VR System Development (Ph.D. Student)
Austin Sabo
Barriers Analysis (Graduate Researcher)


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Advisory Board

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  • Alfred Shaker, Xiangxu Lin, DoYeon Kim,*Jong-Hoon Kim, Gokarna Sharma, and MaryAnn Devine “Design of a Virtual Reality Tour System for People with Intellectual andDevelopmental Disabilities: A Case Study”,The IEEE Journal of Computing in ScienceEngineering.2019.(Accepted)
  • Devine, M.A., Sharma, G.,Kim, J.H., Paskert, M., Shaker, A., and Lin, X., “Identifyingbarriers and facilitators to health-promoting physical activity among individuals with intellectualdisabilities using Immersive Virtual Reality”. The APHA’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo, Philadelphia, Nov.2 – 6, 2019.(Abstract)
  • *Devine, M.A.,Kim, J. H., Sharma, G., Shaker, A., Paskert, M., Lin, X.,“Facilitatingleisure-time physical activity with individuals with intellectual disabilities using VirtualReality”.The American Academy of Leisure Sciences’ Annual Conference on Research andTeaching, Greenville, SC, February 26 – March 1, 2019.(Abstract)