John Datilo Research Update

Older Adults Enjoy Being Active by Walking Safely

With seed grant funding by the Social Science Research Institute, RPTM professor, John Dattilo, in collaboration with Lynn Martire from Human Development and Family Studies and Jinger Gottschall from Kinesiology conducted a pilot study that examined effects of an intervention designed to promote healthy aging. Working with RPTM graduate student, Elizabeth Weybright, and undergraduate students Rachel Popovich, Joshua Daniel, and Michael Green this fall the research team conducted the 8-week leisure education walking program that included 24 90-minute sessions held 3 times per week at the Village at Penn State. Using a battery of questionnaires and a series of interviews, the researchers worked with RPTM graduate student, Junhyoung Kim, to examine the impact of the program B-Active: Enjoy Being Active by Walking Safely designed to empower adults over 65 years of age to become confident and able to be physically active during their free time and improve their self-efficacy associated with walking and balance.

Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders Benefit from Leisure Education

In collaboration with Domingo Garcia-Villamisar from the Department of Personality and Clinical Psychology at Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, RPTM professor, John Dattilo, examined effects of a 1-year group leisure education program on adults with autism spectrum disorder who resided in Madrid, Spain. The leisure education program, based on self-determination theory, was designed to empower participants to learn leisure skills, communicate their leisure preferences, and make informed leisure choices. Using a randomized pre-test, post-test experimental design the researchers examined the social and clinical effects of the program on the adults as well as the impact of the program on their quality of life and stress and found positive results. As a culmination of their years of collaboration in designing and implementing the intervention and research, findings of their research were published in 2010 in the (a) Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, and (b) Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder.