Purpose: The current study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of participation in the IMPACT program on increasing undergraduate volunteer’s self-efficacy towards working with children with disabilities. A secondary aim of the project is to identify potential factors influencing changes in volunteers’ self-efficacy.
Background & Significance: Individualized Movement and Physical Activity for Children Today (IMPACT) provides “hands-on” learning experiences for undergraduate volunteers working directly with children with disabilities in fostering physical activity and healthy lifestyles. As self-efficacy is known as a strong predictor of behavior, an increase in IMPACT volunteers’ self-efficacy towards working with people with disabilities may encourage their future engagement with the disability community through future jobs and recreations. Additionally, it is anticipated that results from this study willcontribute to informing best practices for “hands-on” service learning experiences.
Methods: At this time, 11 IMPACT volunteers chose to participate and submitted 8 weekly surveys. Surveys administered during the first and last weeks served as pre and post-tests collecting self-efficacy and demographic information. Surveys given during weeks 2-7 included items measuring four constructs of self-efficacy. A paired t-test was used to examine changes in self-efficacy. In addition, demographic information and weekly self-efficacy construct scores were examined using multiple linear regression to determine what factors influence self-efficacy.
Results: Results from the paired t-test showed a significant increase in self-efficacy after participation in IMPACT (M = 7.66 to M = 8.15; p = .04). The multiple linear regression did not return any significant factors related to changes in self-efficacy. This null result may be attributed to the small sample size. As this is an ongoing study, we expect to find future significant results as our sample size grows.
Conclusion: Preliminary results suggest that the current structure of IMPACT fosters an environment in which volunteers’ self-efficacy toward working with children with disabilities is positively influenced.