Physical Activity and Sport Participation in Youth with Congenital Heart Disease: Perceptions of Children and Parents

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Fiona Moola University of Toronto

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Guy E.J. Faulkner University of Toronto

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Joel A. Kirsh The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

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Jennifer Kilburn The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

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This study explored perceptions toward physical activity and sport in the lives of youth with congenital heart disease. Thirteen cardiac participants were interviewed in the presence of their parents, and a process of inductive analysis was conducted. Sport was not considered a valued pursuit despite the belief that it is essential for the attainment of good health. Low-self efficacy and fatigue were influenced by covert fears and exclusion and further decreased the value ascribed to sport and physical activity. Nontraditional activities, support from others, and perceptions of mastery played a crucial role in enabling participation and facilitated the journey toward recovery. Findings are discussed within the context of self-efficacy theory and may inform the design of safe and enjoyable physical activity opportunities for this population.

Fiona Moola and Guy Faulkner are affiliated with the Faculty of Physical Education and Health at the University of Toronto, Canada. E-mail: fiona.moola@utoronto.ca. Jennifer Kilburn and Joel Kirsh are with the Cardiac Program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Joel Kirsh is also affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

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