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Check out the research below by SHARP Faculty and/or Scholars.

Physical Activity

Adapted Yoga for People Aging with Spinal Cord Injury

This study is funded by the Joan Schafer Research Faculty Award in Sport, Fitness, and Disability

Principal Investigators: Philippa Clarke, Research Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research and Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, and Michelle Meade, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

People living with spinal cord injury (SCI) experience premature aging. While physical activity can improve health and longevity, people with SCI have among the lowest physical activity levels compared to other populations. Yoga is a low impact form of physical activity that has demonstrated benefits for reducing blood pressure, decreasing inflammation, improving digestion and reducing obesity. Yet, no research has systematically examined how to adapt yoga for people aging with SCI. The goal of this study is to systematically adapt each of the 26 postures in the 26+2 yoga series to benefit people aging with paraplegic SCI.

Experiences with Sport and Physical Activities Among Young Women with Physical Disabilities in China

This study is funded by the Joan Schafer Research Faculty Award in Sport, Fitness, and Disability

Principal Investigator: Zhiying Ma, Assistant Professor in the U-M Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan

Rethinking physical activity communication: using focus groups to understand women’s goals, values, and beliefs to improve public health

In a new study funded internally by the National Cancer Institute, SHARP Director Michelle Segar and co-investigators analyzed what women say makes them feel happy and successful, and how their expectations and beliefs about exercise foster or undermine those things.

Co-Investigator: Segar, M.

Water-Based Movement Training: A Disabled Woman’s Journey

Professor Kuppers will evaluate disability access and experiences with Ai Chi and Watsu, two water-based body strengthening and therapeutic training programs. This study is funded by the Joan Schafer Research Faculty Award in Sport, Fitness, and Disability.

Principal Investigator: Kuppers, P.

The “My Health Coach” Study

This study investigates behavioral and health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and conducts a process evaluation from integrating health coaching conducted by MA’s into a primary care practice.

Co-Investigator: Segar, M.

Optimizing Change: A new tool for making strategic decisions about lifestyle changes in patient encounters

This pilot study evolved out of the UM Innovate Brew program and is modeling and piloting a new decision tool to help clinicians and patients strategically choose which lifestyle behaviors to change at one time

Principal Investigator: Segar, M.

Why Walk? Coding of Press Conference from Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities

Collaborative study to code the reasons for walking stated at the 2015 press conference to announce the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkability.

Principal Investigator: Segar, M.

Moving Toward Wellness

Pilot study with the University of Michigan Depression Center to investigate the patient physical activity needs of those who present for a psychiatric outpatient appointment. The goal of this project is to collect data about how to integrate physical activity into counseling in depression centers.

Co-Investigator: Segar, M.

Toward Sustainable Health: Leveraging Gender Differences in Explicit and Implicit Motivators to Optimally Promote Physical Activity

This study aims to identify whether women and men have distinct motives for exercising, and whether they report distinct explicit vs. implicit motives for exercising.

Principal Investigator: Segar, M.

Hair, Activity, Identity and Race (HAIR) Study

This project explores the extent to which hair maintenance is a barrier to physical activity among African American girls, a first step toward developing ethnically appropriate interventions to address what may be a key issue related to participation.

Principal Investigator: Woolford, S.

Read about the study’s findings, published in BMC Obesity (2016)

Patterns of Physical Activity among a National Sample of Older Women with Diabetes

Little is known about how physical activity changes over time among older women with diabetes, despite it being key for optimal disease management. Results of this study will be used to develop interventions to promote sustained engagement in this critical self-management behavior.

Principal Investigator: Connell, C.

Read about the study’s findings, published in the Journal of Aging and Health (2016)

Leveraging What Walking Means to Mom: Formative Research to Inform the Branding of Walking to Increase Family Physical Activity (National Physical Activity Research and Policy Network/CDC)

This study is a first component of a new program of translational research to identify how to optimally message about walking to motivate on-going behavior in the United States. Data is being collected across nine sites across the country.

Principal Investigator: Segar, M.

Read about the study’s findings, published in the Journal of Health & Transport (2016)



Experiences of Female Veterans in Adaptive Sports

This study is funded by the Joan Schafer Research Faculty Award in Sport, Fitness, and Disability

Principal Investigators: Melissa J. Tinney, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System; Kimberly Casten, M.D., M.Phil., Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Claire Kalpakjian, Ph.D.,M.S., Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Women continue to break down barriers to participation in sports. Women with disabilities are also using adaptive sports more widely. Adaptive sports, characterized by modification or adaptation related to physical or sensory disabilities, can increase physical activity and function, mood, quality of life, and community engagement. Adaptive sports programs are available for veterans, however little is known about the female veteran experience. We will utilize in-depth interviews to explore the experiences of female veterans and their participation in adaptive sports. This will enable building a conceptual framework encompassing motivations, barriers, and facilitating factors as a foundation for future research.

Is Youth Sport on the Decline in U.S. Public High Schools

Principal Investigator: Veliz, P.

Secondary Analysis of the Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF)

This project aims include examining sport-by-sport differences regarding drug use and academic outcomes.

Principal Investigator: Veliz, P.

Secondary Analysis of the Office of Civil Rights Data Collection

This project aims include examining gender equity in the provision of high school sports and examining the association between sports participation and academic outcomes.

Principal Investigator: Veliz, P.

A Novel Assessment of Head Impact Biomechanics in Female Athletes

This study measures peak linear and rotational head accelerations of female high school ice hockey players with comparison to a matched group of men’s high school ice hockey players. Results will help prevent head injuries in females to reduce their disproportionately higher rates of sports-related concussion.

Principal Investigator: Eckner, J.

Who Will Pay for Girls to Play?

Assessing the Influence of Individual and Community-level Factors on Support for Girls’ Sports

This study investigates historical precedents that indicate if pay-to-play leads to disproportionate restrictions on girls’ sports. Findings have implications for public policy at the community, state, and national levels.

Principal Investigator: Heinze, K.

Read about the study’s findings, published in Youth & Society (2014).

Habitual Loading and the Maturing Female Knee

Reducing the Risk of ACL Injuries

This study aims to better understand maturing female’s higher tendency to develop riskier knee-joint and ligament anatomical and structural combinations compared to maturing males through a longitudinal study using  a combination of magnetic resonance, motion capture, and inertial motion unit technology methods. The long-term goal is to elucidate and develop technology to counter mechanisms compromising female knee-joint health and the resulting decline in quality-of-life for women across the life span.

Principal Investigator: McLean, S.

Poverty, Race, and Gender in Sport

Girls of Color and School Sports Opportunities

Our nation’s schools remain highly segregated along racial and economic lines, and schools with high concentrations of minority and low-income students generally have fewer resources for academic
and extracurricular activities. Opportunities to play sports, which provide valuable benefits, are diminished for all students at these schools, but are particularly limited for girls. In fact, when it comes to girls of color and chances to play school sports, the reality is bleak: they receive far fewer opportunities—defined as spots on teams—than white girls, white boys, and boys of color. It is an inequality that has gone largely undocumented due to limited research. 

Principal Investigator: Chaudry, Neena, National Women’s Law Center.

Read the full report published by the National Women’s Law Center (2015).