The purpose of this study was to explore the multiplicity and complexity of identity construction for elite disabled athletes within the arena of disability sport. This involved in-depth semistructured interviews that explored the experiences of 21 British and Taiwanese elite disabled athletes from the sports of powerlifting and track and field. The results indicate that both societal perceptions based in the medical model of disability and the participants’ impaired bodies play a key role in their identity formation and sense of self-worth. The study also highlights the role that success in international disability sport can have by offering potential for positive subjectivity, a changed self-understanding, and an increased sense of personal empowerment. Finally, the notion of multiple identities also appears to be supported by the research participants’ narratives.
Chin-Ju Huang and Ian Brittain
Jeffrey J. Martin
In the last 10-20 years sport psychologists have started to emphasize the value of mental strengths such as self-confidence for disability sport athletes (Martin, 2012). The pinnacle of disability sport competition, the Paralympics, is becoming increasingly competitive, suggesting a strong need for athletes to possess effective mental skills. Like the Olympics there is intense pressure to win at the Paralympics. In the current review article I discuss the body of knowledge in sport psychology that focuses on potential direct and indirect determinants of performance in elite disability sport. The review is organized around a personnel developmental model used by Martin (1999, 2005, 2012). This model is a humanistic model and revolves around foundation qualities, psychological methods and skills, and facilitative and debilitative factors. The premise of the model is also similar to McCann's sentiment that “at the Olympics [Paralympics], everything is a performance issue” (2008, p. 267).
The 1980s and 1990s witnessed the emergence of disability sport in China and a flurry of state-sanctioned propaganda on Chinese disabled people competing in national and international sporting events. This phenomenon and the discourses surrounding it warrant further inquiry. This paper analyzes a selection of state propaganda with a view to understanding dominant state constructions of disability and sport in contemporary China. This is done with reference to recent disability policy and legislation in China, the emergence of Western-style sport in China and the historical development of state discourses of body, nation, and sport.
The subject of this paper is the sport socialization of athletes with disabilities; the object is to contribute to research and praxis through a review of the relevant sociological literature on the subject. The majority of the research, which uses structural-functionalism, is seen as a set of pioneering attempts to generate reliable information. However, the resulting information is too simplistic and theoretically deficient. The minority of the research, which uses interactionism, is seen as complementing the structural-functionalist studies by focusing on different aspects of the socialization experiences of athletes with disabilities. This research is insightful but it is collectively unsystematic. It is concluded that the study of disability sport socialization is in its infancy and is in urgent need of an adequate theoretical foundation. Three theoretical suggestions are offered to provide such a foundation, together with substantive suggestions for focusing on the themes of institutionalized physical activity and sport, social relationships, social configurations, and social control.
Jeffrey J. Martin
Psychosocial aspects of participation in youth disability sport were examined using social-cognitive theory and the sport commitment model. An international sample of athletes with disabilities (N = 112) reported high levels of sport commitment and sport enjoyment, perceived physical ability, and sport friendship quality. They perceived their parents to provide moderately strong levels of encouragement of their sport participation. Correlational analyses indicated moderate to strong relationships among sport commitment, sport enjoyment, and perceived physical ability. Sport commitment, parental encouragement, and sport friendship quality were only somewhat related. Regression analyses indicated that enjoyment was a significant predictor (i.e., 43% of the variance) of sport commitment. The sport experience was a positive one for these athletes and enjoyment is likely a critical motivational factor in promoting a continued desire to remain in sport.
Tarja Kolkka and Trevor Williams
The aim of this paper is to introduce a sociological research agenda on gender in the context of disability sport participation. This is done in three parts. In the first part, there is an examination of the differences between the biological and social conceptions of “sex/gender” and “impairment/disability.” In the second part, we offer a critique of the research on gender and disability sport. The point is made that there has been very little consideration of how gender structures the experiences of disability sport participation. There is a need for a more sophisticated theoretical foundation, different theoretical perspectives, and different approaches, and for alternative research designs to increase our knowledge about gender, disability, and sport participation. These are offered, in the third part, in a suggested sociological research agenda focusing on socialization and gender roles, social differentiation and stratification, and life chances.
Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Celina Shirazipour, and Krystn Orr
By Jeffrey J. Martin. Published 2018 by Oxford University Press , New York, NY. $110 , 464 pp., ISBN 978-0-1906-3805-4 Handbook of Disability Sport & Exercise Psychology provides a comprehensive commentary on the research on sport and exercise for persons with disabilities. Disability sport and
Greg Reid and Andrea Prupas
Seven research priorities for disability sport were identified by the Committee on Sports for the Disabled, of the U.S. Olympic Committee (DePauw, 1986). The purpose of the present article is to assess progress achieved in each priority area. Electronic and manual searches of journals from 1986 to 1996 produced 436 articles. They were categorized into the seven priorities and subdivided as data-based research or review publications. There was a distinct disparity of output across the seven areas, some attracting only scant attention from the scientific community. With 149 articles, the legal/philosophical/historical priority was most common. When publications were analyzed according to disability category, the majority were nonspecific; that is, they addressed the more general athlete with a disability. It was concluded that the disability sport community should reassess the seven priorities, identify new areas, and seek ways to foster high priority research.
Michelle Grenier, Karen Collins, Steven Wright, and Catherine Kearns
The purpose of this qualitative study was to assess the effectiveness of a disability sport unit in shaping perceptions of disability. Data from interviews, observations, and documents were collected on 87 elementary-aged students, one physical education teacher, and one teaching intern. Comparisons were drawn between fifth graders engaged in a five-week disability sport unit to fourth graders participating in their standard physical education curriculum. Findings revealed differences in the way fourth and fifth graders came to view individuals with disabilities. The results support an analysis of curriculum development that underscores the significance of the social model in positively impacting constructions of disability. Recommendations include the use of disability sports in physical education as an effective strategy for educating students in game play, knowledge of the Paralympics, and the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in a variety of sporting venues.
Garry D. Wheeler, Robert D. Steadward, David Legg, Yesahayu Hutzler, Elizabeth Campbell, and Anne Johnson
This study aimed to examine the transferability of a personal investment process of disability sport to athletes from the USA, UK, Canada, and Israel. Initiation, competition, and retirement experiences of 40 athletes were examined. Results corroborate previous findings on athletes with and without disabilities and reveal no differences in major themes among athletes from different countries. A revised personal investment process model is proposed. Athletes with a disability should receive some form of preparatory counseling support before and after retirement. Difficulties during the transition to retirement are generally associated with overcommitment, ego identity in sport, and exclusion of other aspects of life (Baille, 1993; Blinde & Stratta, 1992; Hill & Lowe, 1974; Sinclair & Orlick, 1993). Factors associated with successful transition include sense of accomplishment, voluntary retirement, degree of ego involvement and commitment, anticipatory socialization, planning, social support structures, adequate financial support, and maintenance of outside interests (Baille, 1993; Sinclair & Orlick, 1993; Werthner & Orlick, 1986).