Developing, testing, and sustaining rehabilitation interventions via participatory action research

Dawn M. Ehde, Stephen T. Wegener, Rhonda M. Williams, Patti L. Ephraim, Jennifer E. Stevenson, Patricia J. Isenberg, Ellen J. MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Few published intervention studies in the rehabilitation literature have included consumers in the research process other than as study participants. This lack of consumer involvement in intervention research may contribute to the challenges encountered developing, translating, disseminating, and sustaining evidence-based rehabilitation interventions in clinical practice. The overall objective of this article is to promote the integration of participatory action research (PAR) into rehabilitation intervention research as a mechanism for addressing these gaps. First, we outline essential components of a PAR model across 5 key phases of intervention research, specifically: agenda setting, methods, implementation, diffusion/dissemination, and sustainability. Second, we describe the use of PAR in rehabilitation intervention research within each of these phases by reviewing relevant literature and by providing an illustrative research example from a randomized controlled trial that integrated PAR throughout the research process. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of 5 specific recommendations for promoting the integration of PAR into rehabilitation intervention research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S30-S42
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number1 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 2013


  • Clinical trials as topic
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Rehabilitation
  • Research design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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