The authors compared physical activity enjoyment, perceived barriers, beliefs, and self-efficacy between adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing (TD) adolescents. A questionnaire was verbally administered to 35 adolescents with ASD and 60 TD adolescents. Compared with TD adolescents, fewer adolescents with ASD enjoyed team sports (65% vs. 95%, p < .001) and physical education (84% vs. 98%, p = .02). A greater proportion of adolescents with ASD perceived that physical activities were too hard to learn (16% vs. 0%, p < .01), and fewer believed that physical activity was a way to make friends (68% vs. 97%, p < .001). Fewer adolescents with ASD preferred to do physical activity in their free time (25% vs. 58%, p < .01). Most adolescents with ASD felt that physical activity is fun (84%), but the proportion was lower than in TD adolescents (98%, p = .03). Some perceptions about physical activity were similar between the 2 groups, but differences identified may inform program development.
Heidi Stanish, Carol Curtin, Aviva Must, Sarah Phillips, Melissa Maslin and Linda Bandini
Heidi I. Stanish, Carol Curtin, Aviva Must, Sarah Phillips, Melissa Maslin and Linda G. Bandini
Youths with intellectual disabilities (ID) exhibit low levels of physical activity, but the underlying contributors to behavior are unclear. We compared physical activity enjoyment, perceived barriers, beliefs, and self-efficacy among adolescents with ID and typically developing (TD) adolescents.
A questionnaire was administered to 38 adolescents with ID (mean age, 16.8 years) and 60 TD adolescents (mean age, 15.3 years). Of the original 33 questionnaire items, 23 met the test-retest reliability criteria and were included in the group comparisons.
Fewer adolescents with ID reported that they have someone with whom to do physical activity (64% vs 93%: P < .001), and a greater percentage of adolescents with ID perceived that physical activities were too hard to learn (41% vs 0%; P < .001). Fewer adolescents with ID believed that physical activity would be good for their health (92% vs 100%; P = .05). More adolescents with ID reported a dislike of individual physical activities (P = .02). A large percentage of adolescents with ID (84%) responded that they were good at doing physical activities, but the difference between groups was only of borderline significance (95% of TD adolescents, P = .06).
Adolescents shared many of the same perceptions about physical activity, but some important differences between groups were identified.