Exploring perceptions of sedentary behaviour messages among adults living with self-identified disabilities


By using terms such as "sit" and "stand", movement behaviour guideline messaging may promote ableism as they reinforce an ideal standard of health that can exclude persons with disabilities (PWD). Moreover, definitions of sedentary behaviour (SB) like 'excessive sitting' may conflict with the lived experiences of PWD. However, little is known about PWDs' perceptions of such messages. This study aimed to address this gap. Adults with a disability (N=1,001) participated in an online survey distributed by ParticipACTION. A series of inclusive and exclusive SB messages were randomly presented to participants. After seeing each message, participants responded to questions about message relevance, feelings about the sponsoring organization, and emotional response to messaging. Two-way ANOVAs were conducted to examine main and interaction effects of message type and disability type on message relevance, feelings about the sponsoring organization, and emotional response. Only main effects reported significant associations; regardless of disability type, inclusive SB messages were more relevant to PWD (p<.05) than exclusive SB messages. Participants with a physical disability reported worse feelings about the sponsoring organization (p<.05), and a more negative emotional response (p<.001) than other disability types (e.g., sensory, memory). Inclusive messages are important and are attended to by PWD. Further, persons with a physical disability report feeling even more stigmatized and less represented by SB messages, which could impact engagement in healthy movement behaviours. Future research should further explore SB messaging preferences among PWD, as well as implications on emotional responses using qualitative methods to support these findings.