Reactions to the Metaphors of Disability: The Mediating Effects of Physical Activity

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Donna L. GoodwinUniversity of Saskatchewan

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Robin ThurmeierUniversity of Saskatchewan

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Paul GustafsonUniversity of Saskatchewan

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The purpose of this study was to describe the metaphors of disability to which young people with physical disabilities felt they were exposed and the moderating influence of physical activity on the meanings ascribed to those metaphors. Fourteen participants (7 males, 7 females) with physical disabilities between the ages of 14 and 24 years participated in the study. Their experiences were captured by way of one-on-one audio taped semi-structured interviews and the use and interpretation of artifacts and field notes. Three themes emerged from the thematic analysis: don’t treat me differently, managing emotions, and physical activity balances perceptions. The implications of the findings are discussed within the context of stigma theory and the liminality of social indefinition.

The authors are with College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK CANADA S7N 5B2. E-mail: donna.goodwin@usask.ca

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