“I’ve Had Bad Experiences With Team Sport”: Sport Participation, Peer Need-Thwarting, and Need-Supporting Behaviors Among Youth Identifying With Physical Disability

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This study was guided by self-determination theory to explore the sport experiences of youth with a physical disability and the role of peers within this context. Interviews were conducted with eight youths using a relational mapping technique and analyzed using a deductive thematic approach. Sport peers were broadly defined by the youth as individuals from a large age range and of all abilities. Youth perceived their sport peers to have dynamic roles throughout their participation in sport. The perceived roles of these sport peers included supporting and thwarting basic psychological needs, and influencing the youths’ processing of sport internalization. Findings focus on the complexity of peer need-thwarting and need-supporting interactions in sport for youth with physical disabilities. Overall, peers have a multifaceted role in the sport experiences of youth identifying with a physical disability and may, in some cases, thwart youths’ basic psychological needs.

Orr, Tamminen, and Arbour-Nicitopoulos are with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. Sweet is with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR), Montreal, QC, Canada. Tomasone is with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Krystn Orr at krystn.orr@mail.utoronto.ca.
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