How Do Adults With Down Syndrome Perceive Physical Activity?

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Adam LoveUniversity of Tennessee

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Stamatis AgiovlasitisMississippi State University

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Adults with Down syndrome (DS) tend to have low physical activity levels, which may relate to how they perceive participation in physical activities. The current study entailed interviews with 30 adults with DS (age 18–71 yr, 18 women) to examine how they perceived physical activity, exercise, and sport. Through qualitative analysis informed by grounded theory, the investigators found that adults with DS have positive perceptions of physical activity that center on enjoyment. Three facets of enjoyment were identified: interaction, achievement, and process. Interaction reflected enjoyment of social contact with others including relatives, peers, caregivers, and animals. Achievement involved enjoyment of achieving particular ends including accomplishment of tasks, material rewards, formation of athletic identities, and improvement of health. Process represented enjoyment from performing a particular activity itself. This multifaceted enjoyment expressed by adults with DS may facilitate physical activity and should be considered when developing programs to improve their well-being.

Love is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. Agiovlasitis is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.

Address author correspondence to Adam Love at adamlove@utk.edu
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