This systematic review included 12 studies that compared the well-being of Para and Olympic sport athletes. Meta-analyses revealed that Para athletes, compared with Olympic sport athletes, had lower levels of self-acceptance, indicated by athletic identity, d = -0.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) [-0.77, -0.16], and body-image perceptions, d = -0.33, 95% CI [-0.59, -0.07], and differed from Olympic sport athletes in terms of their motivation, indicated by a greater mastery-oriented climate, d = 0.74, 95% CI [0.46, 1.03]. Given an inability to pool the remaining data for meta-analysis, individual standardized mean differences were calculated for other dimensions of psychological and subjective well-being. The results have implications for professionals and coaches aiming to facilitate the well-being needs of athletes under their care. Future research would benefit from incorporating established models of well-being based on theoretical rationale combined with rigorous study designs.
Macdougall and Sherry are with the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce, and O’Halloran and Shields, the College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.