Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2024

Conference Name

Rowan Faculty Research Day 2024


Objective: Create and evaluate a virtual intervention to improve dietary habits, social interaction, and stress management among persons with disabilities (PwD). Assess validity and reliability of survey instruments to measure intervention constructs.

Design: Pre- and post-intervention surveys; post-intervention focus groups.

Setting: Virtual sessions from home kitchens.

Participants: Adults ages 18 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities (n=27) and their caregivers (n=15).

Intervention: Eight 75-minute sessions included preparing and eating a healthy snack, a nutrition game and discussion, and a guided relaxation activity.

Main Outcome Measures: PwD’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviors; and caregivers’ perceptions of PwD’s attitudinal and behavioral measures were assessed.

Analysis: T-tests, correlational analysis and McNemar’s tests were used with quantitative data. Thematic analysis was used with focus group data.

Results: Reliability and content validity were acceptable for perceived stress, loneliness and sleep quality assessments, but not for dietary factor assessments. Caregivers were reliable proxies for assessing PwD. Post-session knowledge was demonstrated most frequently for Mindful Eating and least frequently for Portion Sizes. No significant changes in dietary habits were measured post-intervention.

Conclusions and Implications: The online intervention was well-received and feasible. Valid and reliable survey instruments for dietary factors are needed for the disability population.