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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.

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Rachael C. Stone, Shane N. Sweet, Marie-Josée Perrier, Tara MacDonald, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung

Identifying as a regular exerciser has been found to effectively alter stereotypes related to warmth and competence for adults with a physical disability; however, it remains unclear how sport participation can influence this trend. Therefore, this study aimed to examine warmth and competence perceptions of adults with a physical disability portrayed as elite and nonelite athletes relative to other athletic and nonathletic subgroups of adults with and without a physical disability in the context of the stereotype content model. Using survey data from able-bodied participants (N = 302), cluster analyses were applied to a behaviors from intergroup affect and stereotypes map for displaying the intersection of warmth and competence perceptions. The results demonstrated that adults with a physical disability who are described as elite athletes (i.e., Paralympians) are clustered with high warmth and high competence, similar to their able-bodied athletic counterparts (i.e., Olympians). The findings suggest that perceiving athletic and elite sport statuses for adults with a physical disability may counter the stereotypes commonly applied to this group.