Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jennifer Waltz

Commitee Members

Craig Ravesloot, Holly Schleicher, Chris Fiore, Bryce Ward


Barriers to participation, Community participation, Health, Persons with disabilities (PWD), Social connectedness, Socializing


University of Montana


Persons with disabilities (PWD) experience social, economic, and environmental disadvantages which have contributed to marginalization, health disparities, and challenges with community participation. Various forms of social closeness appear to serve as protective factors against physical and mental health for the non-disabled population, but it is unclear whether social connectedness is associated with community participation and health for PWD. This within-subjects, correlational design study used survey and Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) data from a sample of persons with mobility impairments (MI) to determine the direct and indirect effect of social connectedness and participation on health, the barriers and facilitators to participation that contribute to social connectedness, and whether social connectedness explains well-being during socializing experiences. Results indicated that social connectedness predicted health related outcomes and mediated the relationship between measures of community participation and mental health. Social connectedness can be best predicted by examining one's sense of community integration and the severity of personal and environmental barriers. Finally, the effect of socializing on in-the-moment and later-day well-being does not seem to be significantly affected by social connectedness. Limitations and future directions are discussed.



© Copyright 2021 Ari B. Silverman