Working at the intersection of sociology and psychology, the purpose of this paper was to examine people’s experiences during rehabilitation of being and having an impaired body as a result of suffering a spinal cord injury (SCI) while playing sport. Interview data with men (n = 20) and observational data were collected. All data were analyzed using narrative analyses. To communicate findings in a way that can incorporate the complexity of results and reach wide audiences, the genre of ethnographic creative nonfiction was used. The ethnographic creative nonfiction extends research into issues related to disability, rehabilitation and sporting injury by 1) producing original empirical knowledge, 2) generating a theoretical account of human thought, affect and action as emerging not inside the individual but within social relations and the narratives that circulate between actors, and 3) capturing the impact of this research.
Emma V. Richardson, Brett Smith, and Anthony Papathomas
Using a dialogical narrative approach, we explored how disabled people made sense of their gym experiences as part of a peer group. Interviews were conducted with 18 disabled people (10 men and 8 women, aged 23–60) who had experience exercising in the gym as part of a group. Data were rigorously analyzed using a dialogical narrative analysis. Within their peer group, participants crafted a collective story that they used to resist disablism in the gym. The dialogical components of the collective story functioned to (a) validate participants’ experiences of oppression in the gym, (b) forge an unspoken understanding with peers, (c) craft a more affirmative identity, and (d) instill a sense of empowerment in participants so that they can tell their own story. This study extends knowledge in the field of exercise and disability by showing that despite the oppression disabled people experienced in the gym, they can create a collective story, which is useful for helping to promote and sustain exercise in this space.
Eva A. Jaarsma, Damian Haslett, and Brett Smith
One significant barrier to physical activity (PA) for people with disabilities is the lack of access to PA information. The purpose of this study was to explore how access to PA information can be improved for people with disabilities, their carers, and PA-session facilitators. To investigate the flow of PA information within a communication network, principles derived from knowledge translation were used: information audiences, messengers, methods, and effectiveness. Participants included 48 people with disabilities (34 male and 14 female; mean age 30 years), 34 carers, and 12 session facilitators. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results show how communication of PA information can be improved by indicating practical value in understanding individual motivations to PA participation, including credible messengers, using multiple delivery methods, and expanding information networks. Future steps are offered, including practical implications resulting from this study to improve PA information flow within a network.
Tim Rees, Brett Smith, and Andrew C. Sparkes
This study draws upon life history data to investigate the influence of social support on the lives of 6 men who had acquired a spinal cord injury and become disabled through playing sport. Interviews were analyzed utilizing categorical-content analysis (Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach, & Zilber, 1998). The participants experienced emotional, esteem, informational, and tangible support (Rees & Hardy, 2000) from various sources. Alongside the positive influence of social support, examples are shown of inappropriate or negatively-experienced support and where participants considered sport to be lacking. The spinal cord injured person is encouraged to be proactive in resourcing social support, but providers might also be taught to recognize the impact, either positively or negatively, that their giving support can have.
Damian Haslett, Javier Monforte, Inhyang Choi, and Brett Smith
In 2019, the International Paralympic Committee produced a new strategy that highlighted the need to promote disability activism through Para sport. The purpose of this study is to understand what promoting disability activism through Para sport means to key stakeholders within an Irish national-level sociopolitical and Para sport context. Three groups of Irish stakeholders participated in interviews. Data were analyzed using a reflexive thematic analysis. Three themes were generated: social responsibility, identity performance, and Paralympic discourse. Within each theme, different stakeholders drew on different activist discourses to argue for and against promoting activism. This article poses significant challenges to the International Paralympic Committee’s strategy. Challenges are addressed by highlighting nine activist discourses that could have practical implications when promoting activism in different sociopolitical and Para sport contexts.
Inhyang Choi, Damian Haslett, Javier Monforte, and Brett Smith
Academics and sport organizations have recently recognized Para-sport as a powerful platform for disability activism. However, little attention has been given to Para-sport activism in non-Western cultures. This study explored the influence of Confucianism on South Korean Para-sport activism. Data were collected through interviews conducted with four stakeholders from the Korea Paralympic Committee and 18 Para-athletes. Through a reflexive thematic analysis, the authors crafted five themes corresponding to Confucian values: position hierarchy, age hierarchy, parent–child relationship, factionalism, and collectivism. All values had the capacity to encourage and discourage participants toward engaging in activism. These findings contribute to the field of Cultural Sport Psychology by highlighting a multitude of cultural factors affecting Para-sport activism. Practical suggestions to promote Para-sport activism are offered, including sociocultural and organizational legacy.
Meridith Griffin, Brett Smith, P. David Howe, and Cassandra Phoenix
In this paper we present a scoping review of literature on aging, visual impairment, and physical activity. Our objectives are to: (a) explore the available literature on aging, physical activity, and sight loss; (b) describe how participation in physical activity by older adults with visual impairment is understood by researchers; and, (c) identify benefits, barriers, and facilitators of physical activity participation as reported by older adults with age-related sight loss. Over 2,000 sources were reviewed, with 30 studies meeting eligibility criteria. Findings were organized into four thematic categories, namely: (a) participation rates; (b) health inequalities; (c) barriers to physical activity participation; and, (d) benefits of physical activity participation. Through this scoping review process, extant knowledge was synthesized and gaps in the literature were critically assessed. To address these gaps, several avenues for future research are outlined and described, alongside a consideration of the implications of the scoping review findings for both policy and practice.
Marie-Josée Perrier, Shaelyn M. Strachan, Brett Smith, and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung
Individuals with acquired physical disabilities report lower levels of athletic identity. The objective of this study was to further explore why athletic identity may be lost or (re)developed after acquiring a physical disability. Seven women and four men (range = 28–60 years) participated in approximately 1-hour-long semi-structured interviews; data were subjected to a narrative analysis. The structural analysis revealed three narrative types. The nonathlete narrative described physical changes in the body as reasons for diminished athletic identity. The athlete as a future self primarily focused on present sport behavior and performance goals such that behavior changes diminished athletic identity. The present self as athlete narrative type focused on the aspects of their present sport involvement, such as feedback from other athletes and skill development, which supported their athletic identity. Implications of these narrative types with respect to sport promotion among people with acquired physical disabilities are discussed.
Terri Susan Graham-Paulson, Claudio Perret, Brett Smith, Jeanette Crosland, and Victoria Louise Goosey-Tolfrey
The consumption of nutritional supplements (NS) is common among able-bodied (AB) athletes yet little is known about NS use by athletes with an impairment. This study examined the: (i) prevalence of NS use by athletes with an impairment; (ii) reasons for use/nonuse; (iii) sources of information regarding NS; and (iv) whether age, gender, impairment, performance level and sport category influence NS use. The questionnaire was completed by 399 elite (n = 255) and nonelite (n = 144) athletes (296 M, 103 F) online or at a sporting event/training camp. Data were evaluated using chi-square analyses. Fifty-eight percent (n = 232) of athletes used NS in the previous 6-month period and 41% (n = 102) of these followed the instructions on the label to determine dose. Adherence to these AB recommendations may partly explain why 9% (n = 37) experienced negative effects from NS use. As expected, the most popular NS were: protein, sports drinks, multivitamins and carbohydrate supplements, which were obtained from health food/sport shops, internet and supermarkets (top 3) where evidence-based, impairment-specific advice is limited. The nutritionist/dietitian was the most used and trusted source of information, which is a promising finding. The most prevalent reasons for use were to support exercise recovery, support the immune system and provide energy. Elite athletes were more likely to use NS, which may reflect greater training hours and/or access to nutritionists. Fifty-two percent of athletes (n = 209) requested more information/education regarding NS. NS use is prevalent in this population. Education on dosage and appropriate sources of information is required.
Nikos L.D. Chatzisarantis, Martin S. Hagger, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Brett Smith, and John C.K. Wang
The present article conducts a meta-analytic review of the research adopting the perceived locus of causality in the contexts of sport, exercise, and physical education. A literature search of published articles identified three main research foci: (a) the development of instruments that assess perceived locus of causality; (b) examination of the construct validity of perceived locus of causality by investigating the relevance of the self-determination continuum as well as by using antecedents (e.g., perceived competence) and outcomes (e.g., intentions); and (c) integration of Nicholls’ (1984) concepts of task and ego orientation with perceived locus of causality. A meta-analysis using 21 published articles supported the existence of a self-determination continuum from external regulation to introjection and identification. In addition, path analysis of corrected effect sizes supported the mediating effects of perceived locus of causality on the relationship between perceived competence and intentions. Results are discussed with reference to the assumptions of self-determination theory, Vallerand’s (1997) hierarchical model of intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and theories of behavioral intentions.