University of Illinois at Chicago

Exploring Barriers/Facilitators to Assistive Technology Use among Hispanics: A Social Ecological Approach

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posted on 2023-08-01, 00:00 authored by Angelica Martinez Perez
Despite being the largest ethnic minority in the US, Hispanics experience the worst health outcomes. Factors such as inaccessibility to services, poor quality of care, and lack of support have contributed to disproportionate healthcare disparities and worsening conditions. Scholarship has demonstrated the effectiveness of assistive technology (AT) in increasing an individual's quality of life and well-being by promoting independence/autonomy, safety, and participation. However, research has indicated that Hispanics with disabilities do not use AT as much as their non-Hispanic white counterparts. One barrier to understanding the complexities of AT usage among Hispanics is clearly seen upon review of AT outcomes research which has historically focused very little attention to this demographic. As a result, the experiences and needs of Hispanics with disabilities are not fully captured, explored, or considered. This issue is even more significant when the research is intended to inform policy, where scientific findings do not represent the voices and needs of the Hispanic population, furthering their marginalization and perpetuating the cycle of oppression. Using a narrative thematic analysis design and incorporating the Social Ecological Model approach, this study explored the experiences of Hispanics served by the UIC Assistive Technology Unit via semi-structured interviews. Qualitative findings identified multilevel barriers and facilitators to AT use and uncovered potential strategies in engaging key stakeholders. Results from this study have implications for practice, future research, interventions, and local policy that could impact Hispanics’ disproportionate access to AT use and overall health outcomes. Furthermore, by adding to the limited body of literature exploring AT use among Hispanics in the U.S., this study enriches the scientific tapestry of AT outcomes research.



Balcazar, Fabricio


Balcazar, Fabricio


Disability and Human Development

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Hedman, Glenn Parker Harris, Sarah Hsieh, Kueifang Orellano Colón, Elsa

Submitted date

August 2023

Thesis type



  • en

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