Confidence, mobility, and participation with using a manual wheelchair

study logo - wheel
Researcher(s): Dr. William Miller

Researchers from the University of British Columbia, ICORD, and G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre conducted a research study examining confidence with using manual wheelchairs. The purpose of this study was to better understand the influence that confidence with using a manual wheelchair has on an individual’s ability to independently move around his or her home and community, and participate in society while using a wheelchair.

For more information about this study, please contact Brodie Sakakibara at 604-737-6310 or by email at

Principal Investigator: Dr. Bill Miller

people wheeling on BSCC ramp

Results from this study:
ICORD researchers Brodie Sakakibara, Drs. William Miller and Janice Eng, and their colleagues investigated both direct and mediated effects of self-efficacy on the frequency of participations of wheelchair-users who were aged 50 or over. These users were individuals who lived in the community and had at least six months of experience with wheelchair use.  It was found that confidence in one’s ability in using a manual wheelchair is both a positive and significant determinant of frequency of participation in older wheelchair users. There appears to be a greater correlation between high confidence and greater participation in men than for women.  In addition, it was statistically shown that self-efficacy has indirect and direct influence on participation frequency in community-dwelling wheelchair users, aged 50 or over.  As such, the authors suggest that interventions that address low self-efficacy and low confidence should be developed and may lead to an increased frequency of participation in older wheelchair users. Phys Ther. 2014 Jan; 94(5): 1-11 and Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Apr; 94(4):791-4. Sakakibara BM, Miller WC, Routhier F, Backman CL, Eng JJ.

Previous studies by Brodie Sakakibara and Dr. William Miller support their new findings. In one study, they found that wheelchair skills training sessions improved confidence in older adults using a manual wheelchair. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jun; 94(6):1031-7. Sakakibara BM, Miller WC, Souza M, Nikolova V, Best K