Evaluation of Environmental Barriers faced by Wheelchair Users in India

DEVI, S
GOYAL, S
RAVINDRA, S

Publication Date 

2013
13 pp

Purpose: Environmental factors restrict the extent to which people with disabilities can participate in society. The reduction of environmental barriers will increase their participation in the social, educational and vocational spheres of life. With the use of a valid and reliable tool - the Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors (CHIEF) questionnaire - this study aimed to evaluate the environmental barriers faced by wheelchair users in Bangalore city, India.

 

Method: A convenience sample of 100 wheelchair users, between 16 and 40 years of age, and working in different institutions in Bangalore, participated in the study. The CHIEF questionnaire was administered to each participant. It consisted of multiple questions pertaining to the 5 components of environmental barriers faced by wheelchair users: Accessibility, Accommodation, Resource availability, Social support and Equality. Percentage values for the responses in each component were calculated.

 

Results: The results showed that 52% of wheelchair users faced problems in Accessibility on a daily basis, and 77% of them felt the problem was big. With respect to Accommodation, 41% faced problems once a month and 50% of them felt that this was a big problem. The maximum percentage of participants did not face problems in Resource availability (43%), Social support (50%) and Equality (59%), and therefore these aspects were not felt to be a big problem.

 

Conclusion: An understanding of the environmental barriers faced by wheelchair users can provide guidance in mapping policies and strengthening laws which would help to improve their quality of life.

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