Longitudinal differences in participation across physical activity contexts between adolescents with and without disability: A self-determination theory perspective
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Introduction: Participation in physical activity (PA) is considered to have a profound influence on the development, health, and well being of all children and adolescents. Nevertheless, individuals with disabilities seem to participate less frequently and be less involved in PA compared to peers without disabilities. Meaningful participation amongst youth with disabilities has been shown to incorporate elements related to Selfdetermination theory (SDT) (Ryan & Deci, 2017) and the experience of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. The tree main PA contexts amongst Norwegian adolescents are physical education (PE), organized sport (OS), and self-organized physical activity (SOA). Exploring differences in participation in these contexts amongst adolescents with and without disabilities, in terms of perceived need fulfillment, is thus of relevance. Aim: To explore the degree of fulfillment of basic psychological needs in the PA contexts of PE, OS, and SOA amongst adolescents reporting disability/long-term illness and whether they differ in relation to adolescents not reporting so, over a three-year time span. Methods: The present quantitative and longitudinal study is based on data from the Norwegian research project “The Relevance of Physical Activity Contexts in the everyday life of adolescents” (REPAC). Participants were students of secondary- or upper secondary school in Norway. A context-specific adaptation of The Basic Psychological Needs in Exercise Scale (Vlachopoulos & Michailidou, 2006) was used to measure need fulfillment, and data was collected once a year for three years. At T1, participants (N=2979) were 13 and 16 years of age, whereof n= 328 reported having a disability/long-term illness, and n= 2651 reported no disability/long-term illness. Independent sample t-tests were conducted to assess differences between groups, and Cohen´s d was used to explore the effect size of differences. Results: Findings showed that adolescents with disability/long-term illness reported significantly lower autonomy, competence, and relatedness in PE across all three time4 points. In OS, adolescents with disability/long-term illness scored significantly lower on all psychological needs at T1, in addition to lower autonomy and relatedness at T2. No significant differences between groups were found in perceived competence at T2, nor in any of the three needs at T3. There were no significant differences between groups in SOA across all three time points, with the exception of lower perceived autonomy amongst adolescents with disability/long-term illness at T2. The effect sizes of differences in all the respective significant findings were small. Conclusion: The findings suggest that differences in need fulfillment between adolescents with and without disability seemingly vary depending on PA context and across time. PE, and in part OS, seems to be contexts wherein adolescents with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to reduced participation. Efforts to improve basic psychological need fulfillment, and essentially participation, amongst individuals with disabilities in these PA contexts, may be warranted.
Masteroppgave - Norges idrettshøgskole, 2020