The aim was to study whether perceived environmental barriers to outdoor mobility affect changes in sense of autonomy in participation outdoors among community-dwelling older people over a two-year period.
Community-dwelling people aged 75-90 years (n = 848) in central Finland were interviewed on two occasions, face-to-face at baseline and over the telephone two years later. Perceived environmental barriers to outdoor mobility were assessed using a 15-item structured questionnaire, and the sum scores categorized into tertiles (0, 1 and 2 or more barriers). Autonomy in participation outdoors was assessed with the 'Impact on Participation and Autonomy' (IPA) questionnaire using the autonomy outdoors subscale (score range 0-20, higher scores indicating more restricted autonomy).
Scores for autonomy in participation outdoors were available for 848 participants at baseline (mean 6.2, SD = 3.8) and for 748 participants at the two-year follow-up (mean 6.7, SD = 3.9). At baseline, those reporting multiple environmental barriers had the most restricted autonomy, while those reporting no environmental barriers had the least restricted autonomy (p