Comparison of Travel Patterns of Families with and without a Member with a Disability
Jo, Songjae, Huh, Chang, Kosciulek, John F., Holecek, Donald F., The Journal of Rehabilitation
Recreation and leisure have greatly influenced the quality of of people, including people with disabilities (Modell & Imwold, 1998). The quality of life is closely associated with the opportunity for personal growth, fulfillment, and self-esteem (Pain, Dunn, Anderson, Darrah, & Kratochvil, 1998). Such potentialities include the opportunity to establish social bonds with family, friends, and co-workers and to derive meaning from religious and civic activities. Access to sources of aesthetic and intellectual pleasure, including museums, concerts, the use of public parks and libraries should be pursued for recreational purposes based on one's own choice and control (Kosciulek, 1999; Weisberger, 1991). This can also provide individuals with an opportunity to acquire and improve social skills through play, social groups and inherent interactions, increase the circle of acquaintances and friends, increase self-confidence, acquire physical skills and competencies, develop a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, have fun, and create a sense of social identity and belonging to the community (Lloyd, King, Lampe, & McDougall, 2001; Lord, 1997).
Travel is one of the major parts of leisure activity (Turco, Stumbo, & Garncarz, 1998). As a leisure activity, travel may fulfill an individual's needs for catharsis, independence, understanding, affiliation, and getting along with others. Travel is also a means of maintaining a healthy balance between work and relaxation or of escaping from routine cares, especially with the accelerated pace of modern life. According to Travel Industry Association of America (2000), approximately 997 million people engaged in pleasure travel in the United States, including travelers who have a disability, illness, or limitation that may hinder one or more life functions. The U.S. Census Bureau in 2000 estimated that some 49 million Americans were covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); this reached approximately 19 percent of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).
Definition of Terms
For the purposes of this study, it is important to provide clear and specific definitions of the constructs of family and travel. To accommodate the diversity of family compositions and to prevent confusion due to various definitions of family, this study used the definition proposed by Mactavish, Schleien, and Tabourne (1997), which refers to the family as a social group with whom one resides, in other words, the household. In the present study, travel referred to a pleasure trip which is defined as any overnight or day trip to a place at least 50 miles from home for the purpose of enjoyment; including vacations, weekend getaways, shopping trips, trips to a second home, and trips to visit friends or relatives. Finally, since a number of writers have commented on the lack of clear distinction between leisure and recreation (Lloyd et al., 2001), the two terms will be used interchangeably.
Purpose of the Study
Despite the fact that travel is an important part of family life, including a family who has a member with a disability, little research has been conducted to date. The purpose of this investigation was to compare the travel patterns of families with and without a member with a disability. In addition, the relationships between annual incomes, type of employment, and race/ethnicity and families with and without a member with a disability were also evaluated. It was anticipated that the results of this investigation would provide rehabilitation practitioners with information useful for facilitating the recreation and leisure activities of people with disabilities and their families.
Research question 1: Are there differences in travel patterns (e.g., type of activity, types of transportation used, primary purpose of trip, use of the Internet) among families with and without a member who has a disability?
Several studies suggest that travel constraints such as lack of reasonable accommodations and lack of awareness among rehabilitation and leisure professionals prevent or reduce an individual with disabilities from frequency, rate, or satisfaction in pleasure travel (Broida & Germann, 1999; Peniston, 1996; Turco et al., 1998). This study hypothesizes that travel patterns among families with and without a member with a disability will be different.
Research question 2: Are there differences among families with and without a member who has a disability with respect to the level of income, employment status, and race/ethnicity?
We think that income, employment status, and race/ethnicity will be important variables that can be associated with the differences in travel patterns between two groups, because previous studies identified the importance of those variables (Heyne & Schleien, 1997; Gardyn & Fetto, 2003; Mactavish et al., 1997). Therefore, this study proposes that families with and without a member with a disability will be different with respect to level of income, types of employment, and race/ethnicity.
Brief Literature Review
Benefits of Recreational Activities on People with Disabilities
Several studies have indicated that recreation has a significant influence on people with disabilities in such things as social competence (Lord, 1997; Russel & McLean, 1997), physical well-being (Axelson, 1996), social inclusion, community integration (Mahon, Mactavish, & Bockstael, 2000; Marley, 2000; Oliva & Simonsen, 2000), and life satisfaction (Lloyd et al., 2001). Lord (1997) stressed that the lack of appropriate social interaction skills, resulting from a social isolation, is a prevalent problem for many individuals with disabilities. As a result, providing opportunities to interact in a variety of social settings, with varying social expectations as well as a diverse spectrum of people develops the necessary social competence, which in turn leads to increased interaction.
Moreover, Russel and McLean (1997) indicated that a lack of appropriate social interaction skills by persons with developmental disabilities is caused in part by social isolation. Those with developmental disabilities are restricted from learning how to initiate and maintain interactions such as the ability to share, cooperate, and solve problems with others because of a lack of social linkage. They suggested that adequate leisure activities could provide the social linkages needed throughout the lifespan. Axelson (1996) also reported that active involvement in outdoor activities by people with disabilities improves fitness, reduces obesity and cardiac problems, boosts confidence, promotes positive self-esteem, and increases feeling of inner peace.
Furthermore, recreation advances social integration and quality of life in that it enables interactions between individuals with disabilities and their peers without disabilities (Bullock & Mahon; Hoge& Wilhite; Hutchison & McGill; cited in Mahon et al., 2000, p.25). Browder and Cooper (1994) suggested that recreation activities gave participants with a disability to a variety of benefits, such as age-appropriate activities resulting in physical and psychological health, social relationships with participants without a disability, and skill development.
In the study to investigate links between leisure and social integration by people with intellectual disabilities, Mahon et al. (2000) noted, "Social integration rooted in a sense of belonging comes from sharing time, activities, and experiences with family and friends" (p.28). They also reported that for some participants with intellectual disability, particularly teenagers and young adults who lived at home with their parents/caregivers, family activities were important recreation outlets that facilitated social integration within the family. Furthermore, in the study of recreation and its relation to social integration for deaf and hard of hearing persons, Oliva and Simonsen (2000) reported that deaf persons find themselves lacking in their abilities to contribute in formal (e.g., meetings) and informal (e.g., lunchroom, water cooler, and locker room) settings, which can perpetuate the seclusion of the deaf community. Marley (2000) also found similar results, indicating that encouraging participants to develop physical and life management skills through varied activities and sports, as well as social and cultural events, fosters self-realization, confidence, and independence.
Life and leisure satisfaction levels were found to be related as well (Lloyd et al., 2001). They examined the relationship between leisure activity and life satisfaction in a sample of 100 adults with a mental illness who were clients of an Australian community mental health rehabilitation service. Results indicated that the clients of mental health rehabilitation services believe that their leisure pursuits provide them with intellectual stimulation, enjoyable relationships with others, and relaxation; suggesting that they are very satisfied with the activities they engage in during their leisure time. Modell and Imwold (1998) also suggested that in the area of recreation and leisure satisfaction, those who participate more regularly and have greater access to recreation and leisure activities are significantly more satisfied with their lives than their peers who do not.
Recreation in Family Life
In modern society, recreation and leisure play an important role in developing cohesive, healthy relationships among family members (Mactavish et al., 1997; Zabriskie & McCormick, 2001). Families are still considered to be the fundamental units of society and are perhaps the oldest and most important of all human institutions. Examinations of family leisure have consistently demonstrated a positive relationship between family recreation and aspects of family functioning such as satisfaction and bonding (Zabriskie & McCormick, 2001). Research has indicated that recreation contributes to a potential mechanism for coping with the increased pressures that at times may accompany the presence of a member with a disability in the family. Modell and Imwold (1998) suggested that there are several benefits of active involvement in recreational activities by the family, parents in particular, such as learning about diversity and socially appropriate behavior, increased communication and self-esteem, and the development of friendships and social skills.
Despite findings suggesting that leisure and recreation positively contribute to family functioning, and that inclusive recreation and leisure can provide innumerable opportunities for people with disabilities to interact and increase their overall quality of life, people with disabilities and families with a member who has a disability feel frustrated and helpless due to ever-existing barriers and limitations when it comes to participation. They are often excluded from participating in recreation programs because of environmental barriers such as transportation, architecture, economics, and public attitudes (Deb, 1996; Vash, 2001). For people with disabilities, difficulties caused by environmental and accessibility barriers are plenty (Broida & Germann, 1999).
In summary, active participation in leisure activities fosters overall family functioning among families with a member with a disability (Zabriskie & McCormick, 2001), and the social integration and quality of life of people with disabilities is positively correlated with leisure satisfaction (Mahon et al., 2001).
Because the major focus of this study was to explore differences in the travel patterns among families with and without a member with a disability, the data used in this study were obtained from samples selecting adults aged 18 or older, who permanently reside in Midwestern states defined as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Ontario (Canada), and who took the most recent pleasure trips in the past 12 months. Of the total completed respondents (N=25,254) from January 1996 to December 2001, 82.1% (n=20,734) indicated that they took a pleasure trip in the past 12 months and were thus selected in the study as samples. Of those who took any pleasure trip in the past 12 months, 5% (n=985) of respondents reported that they had one or more members with a disability in their families.
Sixty percent of the sample was female, whereas male participants composed of 40% of the sample. As for the income distribution, slightly less than half of respondents (46%) reported that their annual income was more than $65,000. Sixty-three percent of the participants indicated that they were employed fun-time. The majority participants were White (92% for the whole sample). Table 1 provides detailed information related to participant demographic characteristics.
The questionnaire that was developed by the Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (hereafter CATI) laboratory maintained by the Michigan Travel, Tourism, and Recreation Resource Center at Michigan State University was used for the study. Most of the questions in the questionnaire remained unchanged over the period of the study (January 1996-December 2001). Respondents were asked to answer pleasure trip behavioral and socio-demographic questions during the same time period.
The questionnaire consists of the following sub-blocks:
Demographics. These sub-questionnaires include variables such as gender, income, age, ethnicity, and employee status. An example of a question includes, "What racial or ethnic group do you belong to?"
Travel characteristics. This consists of such variables as travel frequency, purpose of the travel, type of transportation used, and activities in which the individual participated. Questions such as "In the past twelve months, have you taken any day or overnight pleasure trips to any destination?," "What was the primary purpose of this trip?" and "What types of transportation did you use?" were asked.
Travel planning behavior. Such variables as obtaining travel information from the Internet and travel planning interval were included. For example, "Do you have access to the Internet?" was included.
The Data were collected by Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) laboratory. The survey employed random digit-dial samples of household telephone numbers in the study region purchased from Survey Sampling, Inc. The CATI laboratory was in operation from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday evenings, from noon to 4 p.m. EST on Saturday, and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST on Sundays. In the evenings, house holds in the Eastern time zone were called from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST, and households in the Central time zone were called from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST so that attempts to contact potential respondents in the different time zone were made within the same time span. In addition, numbers within each time zone were randomized so interviewers did not call the same state/province throughout their shifts. Each interviewer was trained to explain the purpose of the study and to ask for informed consent.
Up to three attempts were made to contact each household in the designated sample. Interviewers randomly selected respondents within households by asking to speak to the adult in the home over 18 years old with the next birthday. If that person was not available, interviewers asked to speak to the person having the following birthday. This procedure was used to minimize the potential bias caused by the tendency of certain persons in a household to answer the phone more frequently. The response rate, including partially completed interviews, was 44%.
A series of contingency table analyses, Chi-square test, were conducted to investigate whether there were differences in travel patterns among families with and without a member with a disability. The findings of analyses supported the first hypothesis that there were statistically significant differences in travel patterns among families with and without a member with a disability (Table 2). A difference was found among families with and without a member with a disability regarding overnight trips, [chi square] (1) = 3.7, p<0.04. A family without a member with a disability (84%) is likely to take more overnight trips than a family who has a member with a disability (81%).
The activities participated in while traveling indicated that there were differences in outdoor recreation, [chi square] (1) = 19.8, p<0.00, casino gaming, [chi square] (1) = 3.5, p<0.04, and visiting a state or a national park, [chi square] (1) = 3.0, p<0.04. Families with a member with a disability participated in much less outdoor recreation activity (38%) than families without a member with a disability (52%). On the contrary, families with a member with a disability (15%) participated in more casino gaming than families without a member with a disability (11%). A family without a member who has a disability is more likely to visit a state or a national park (28% vs. 24%).
With respect to the primary purpose of the trip, statistical associations were found among families with and without a member with a disability, [chi square] (6) = 85.3, p<0.04. A family without a member with a disability (13%) is more likely to have relaxation as the purpose of the trip than a family with a member who is disabled (8%). There was a difference among families with and without a member who has a disability in the seasonality of their trips, [chi square] (3) = 12.0, p<0.01. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents among families with a member with a disability took pleasure trips in summer, followed by, fall (31%), spring (21%), and winter (11%). Families without a member with a disability, on the other hand, took pleasure trips in summer (41%), fall (25%), spring (17%), and winter (16%). Findings also suggested that the use of the Internet in planning trips was different for the two groups, [chi square] (1) = 159.4, p<0.00. Families with a member with a disability (40%) seemed to use the Internet much less for planning trips than families without a member with a disability (57%).
A chi-square analysis was conducted to investigate whether there is a difference in income among families with and without a member with a disability (Table 3). The results revealed that there was a statistically significant difference in income between two groups, [chi square] (2) = 152.2, p<0.00. Forty-one percent of families with a member with a disability lives in the lowest income level (less than $42,000) comparing to families without a member with a disability (23%). In addition, the slightly half of families without a member with a disability are an income of more than $65,000, whereas thirty percent of families with a member with a disability is over $65,000 income level.
To examine whether there was a statistical difference in the types of employment status among families with and without a member with a disability, a chi-square test was employed. As shown in Table 4, the result of the chi-square test indicated that there was a statistically significant difference in the types of employment status between two groups, [chi square] (4) = 252.9, p<0.00. For instance, sixty-tour percent of respondents without a member with a disability had a fulltime job, whereas only forty-two percent of respondents with a member with a disability had a fulltime job. One-thirds of respondents with a member with a disability appeared to be retired, but fourteen percent of respondents with a member without a disability did.
A chi-square analysis was conducted to examine whether race/ethnicity contributed to a difference among families with and without a member with a disability (Table 5). A statistical significance was found between two groups, [chi square] (4) = 12.1, p<0.02. More specifically, the majority of families with (86%) and without (89%) a member with a disability were Caucasian, followed by African-American (6% vs. 4%).
The results of this study support that there are important differences in travel patterns among families with and without a member with a disability. Families with a member with a disability participated in much less outdoor recreation activity (38%) than families without a member with a disability (52%). Families with a member with a disability participated in more casino gaming and are less likely to visit state or national parks than families without a member with a disability. Architectural or environmental inaccessibility to the transportation and recreational facilities as well as lodging, and the absence of alternative programs to facilitate outdoor activities for people with disabilities seem to contribute to these findings (Marley, 2000; Turco et al., 1998). It is recommended that families with a member who has a disability gather as much information as possible regarding the accessibility and accommodations of their intended travel destination. Tourism destination providers need to provide better, more complete information about site accessibility and the accommodations they have made for travelers with disabilities. In addition, a collaborative relationship among rehabilitation service providers, leisure professionals, and families with a member with a disability is essential in order to develop and enhance outdoor leisure activities (Heyne & Schleien, 1997).
Furthermore, findings suggested that the use of Internet in planning trips differentiates among families with and without a member with a disability. Families with a member with a disability seem to use the Internet less in planning trips than their counterpart. Similar findings of Turco et al. (1998) indicated, "Most persons in the study relied on key informants to locate information about things to do, places to stay, and how to get to the destination. These key informants included family and friends, selected travel agents, and, in few cases, the Internet" (p.81). Rehabilitation professionals, with collaboration of tourism industry, consider providing information using several means of communication including the Internet.
On the other hand, it is somewhat surprising that there is no significant difference in the use of transportation between the two groups in that it was our hypothesis that families with a member with a disability would use different types of transportation due to inaccessibility of the public transportation such as airplanes or taxis. This is also contrary to the finding of Turco et al. (1998), which suggested that many people with disabilities used their own automobiles which offered customized features and schedule flexibility for pleasure travel.
According to further tests, their income, employment status, and race/ethnicity appear to differentiate among families with and without a member with a disability. It can be inferred from the findings that income and employment status disparities among families with and without a member with a disability may cause the differences of their travel patterns. Considering many people with disabilities are living under the poverty level, findings may demonstrate that families with a member with a disability have less opportunity to enjoy recreational/leisure activities than their counterparts due to their low income and unemployment status. Parents with more income are more likely to be involved in home-based leisure activities with a child who has a developmental disability (Mactavish et al., 1997). In addition, parental employment status produced significant differences in frequencies of participation in leisure activities with their children with disabilities (Heyne & Schleien, 1997; Mactavish et al., 1997). Practical solutions such as reduced admission for park and recreation sites and special recreation programs for low-income group of disabilities should be made. Race/ethnicity is found to differentiate among families with and without a member with a disability. Further study should be conducted to find out whether cultural differences in families with different ethnicities contribute to differences in travel patterns.
Limitations of the Study
The findings of this study should be considered within the context of several important limitations. First, the portion of the sample that is the families with a member with a disability is 5% (n- 985) of all the participants in the study. Considering the tact that people with disabilities comprise approximately 18% of the study regions (Census, 2000), the 5% figure is somehow low. Readers are cautioned regarding the exploratory nature of the research findings, which therefore limits generalizability of the findings. The fact of the discrepancy may come from the definition of the disability that the census and this study had conducted. For instance, respondents in this study were asked to identify whether there is a member with a disability in his or her family not being informed of working definition of disability. For the reasons, it might cause different perceptions of the definition of disability among respondents. Finally, further study is desirable to investigate whether factors such as types of disability (i.e., physical, sensory, cognitive), severity of disability, or the number of persons with disabilities in the family contribute to differences in travel patterns among families with a member with a disability.
Implications for Rehabilitation Practice
Despite its limitations, this study is one of the first attempts to provide rehabilitation practitioners with descriptive information regarding the differences in travel patterns among families with and without a member with a disability. Although findings from this study may not generalize to the total population, the results from this study might help the rehabilitation professionals develop recreational programs that foster self-realization, confidence, and independence for a person with a disability (Marley, 2000).
The results of this investigation suggest that rehabilitation professionals should attend closely to leisure/recreational activities in the rehabilitation process because inclusive recreation and leisure can provide innumerable opportunities for people with disabilities and their families to interact and increase their overall quality of life and foster healthy family relationship (Zabriskie & McCormick, 2001). Rehabilitation professionals need to educate and collaborate with service providers as well as family members in order to facilitate participation in inclusive recreation and leisure activities for families with a member with a disability (Modell & Imwold, 1998; Turco et al., 1998).
Finally, according to Open Doors Organization (2003), travelers with disabilities have been increased sharply over past ten years and they could spend at least $27 billion per year if certain needs are met. The tourism industry should increase its customer service training in order to serve those with disabilities and reduce limitations as well as to develop policies that are barrier-free with zero exclusion (Germ & Schleien, 1997; Turco et al., 1998).
Table 1 Participant Demographic Characteristics Families with a disability All respondents Variable (N=985 *) (N=20,734 *) Gender Male 37.5% 39.5% Female 62.5% 60.5% Income Less than $42,000 41.3% 24.3% $42,001 - $65,000 28.4% 29.7% More than $65,000 30.3% 46.0% Employment Employed full-time 41.9% 62.9% Status Employed part-time 9.0% 9.6% Retired 24.9% 14.5% Not employed 5.7% 1.7% Others ** 18.5% 11.3% Ethnicity White 88.3% 92.0% Black 7.5% 4.5% Asian or Pacific Islanders 0.7% 1.3% Hispanic 1.5% 1.1% Others *** 2.0% 1.1% * Sample sizes vary across variables due to skip patterns in a questionnaire and hang-up. ** Homemaker, student, some other employment situation. *** American Indian or Alaskan Native, Other multiracial. Table 2 Differences in travel patterns among families with and without a member with a disability: Chi-square analysis Families With a disability Without a disability Variable N % N % Overnight trip 286 80.8 5,185 84.1 Activities while traveling Outdoor recreation 102 37.8 2,429 51.7 Casino gaming 37 14.6 481 11.3 State or national park 59 23.6 1,138 27.7 Primary purpose of trip Outdoor recreation 14 9.7 289 11.2 Entertainment 20 13.9 336 13.0 Visit family or relatives 52 36.1 824 32.0 Relaxation 11 7.6 333 12.9 General touring 7 4.9 123 4.8 Vacation/Holiday 25 17.4 461 17.9 Others 15 10.4 206 8.0 Seasonality Spring 58 20.7 818 17.0 Summer 103 36.8 1,990 41.4 Fall 88 31.4 1,213 25.2 Winter 31 11.1 85 16.3 Internet Use while planning a trip 635 40.3 13,169 56.7 Variable [chi square] df P-value Overnight trip 3.7 1 0.04 * Activities while traveling Outdoor recreation 19.8 1 0.00 ** Casino gaming 3.5 1 0.04 * State or national park 3.0 1 0.04 * Primary purpose of trip Outdoor recreation 85.3 6 0.04 * Entertainment Visit family or relatives Relaxation General touring Vacation/Holiday Others Seasonality Spring 12.0 3 0.01 ** Summer Fall Winter Internet Use while planning a trip 159.4 1 0.00 ** * p<0.05, ** p<0.01 Table 3 Differences in income among families with and without a member with a disability: Chi-square analysis Families With a disability Without a disability Variable N % N % Less than $42,000 323 41.3 3,467 22.9 $42,001 - $65,000 222 28.4 4,495 29.7 More than $65,000 237 30.3 7,158 47.3 Variable [chi square] df P-value Less than $42,000 152.17 20.00 ** $42,001 - $65,000 More than $65,000 ** p<0.01 Table 4 Differences in employment types among families with and without a member with a disability: Chi-square analysis Families With a disability Without a disability Variable N % N % Employed full-time 366 41.9 10,602 63.7 Employed part-time 79 9.1 1,592 9.6 Retired 217 24.8 2,311 13.9 Not employed 50 5.7 254 1.5 Others 162 18.5 1,893 11.4 Variable [chi square] df P-value Employed full-time 252.93 4 0.00 ** Employed part-time Retired Not employed Others ** p<0.01 Table 5 Differences in race/ethnicity among families with and without a member with a disability: Chi-square analysis Families With a disability Without a disability Variable N % N % White 607 86.1 12,100 88.7 Black 45 6.4 569 4.2 Asian or Pacific Islanders 4 0.6 162 1.1 Hispanic 10 1.4 134 1.0 Others 39 5.5 681 5.0 Variable [chi square] df P-value White 12.1 4 0.02 * Black Asian or Pacific Islanders Hispanic Others * p<0.05
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Songjae Jo, Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education, 447, Erickson Hall, Michigan State University East Lansing, 48824. E-mail: email@example.com
Michigan State University
Michigan State University
John F. Kosciulek
Michigan State University
Donald F. Holecek
Michigan State University…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Comparison of Travel Patterns of Families with and without a Member with a Disability. Contributors: Jo, Songjae - Author, Huh, Chang - Author, Kosciulek, John F. - Author, Holecek, Donald F. - Author. Journal title: The Journal of Rehabilitation. Volume: 70. Issue: 4 Publication date: October-December 2004. Page number: 38+. © 1999 National Rehabilitation Association. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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