Social interaction and development of friendships between children with and without a disability are often proposed as potential outcomes of inclusive education. Physical activity specialists assert that exercise and sport environments may be conducive to social and friendship outcomes. This study investigated friendship in inclusive physical education from the perspective of students with (n = 8) and without (n = 8) physical disabilities. All participants attended a reversely integrated school and were interviewed using a semistructured, open-ended format. An adapted version of Weiss, Smith, and Theeboom’s (1996) interview guide exploring perceptions of peer relationships in the sport domain was used. Four conceptual categories emerged from the analysis: development of friendship, best friend, preferred physical activities and outcomes, and dealing with disability. The results demonstrated the key characteristics of best friends and the influential role they play.
The authors are with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at McGill in Montreal, Canada.