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Psychology of disability sport

Psychology of disability sport. Cate Stephens Chartered physiotherapist. Lecture overview. Defining disability Current levels of sports participation Factors affecting a person’s reaction to be disabled Perceived benefits of sports Barriers to sport Congenital versus acquired

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Psychology of disability sport

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  1. Psychology of disability sport Cate Stephens Chartered physiotherapist

  2. Lecture overview • Defining disability • Current levels of sports participation • Factors affecting a person’s reaction to be disabled • Perceived benefits of sports • Barriers to sport • Congenital versus acquired • Psychology of injury

  3. History • Pioneered by Sir Ludwig Gutmann • Originally designed to assist in rehabilitation • Motto of the Paralympic movement Empower, inspire and achieve

  4. Definition of disability • Largest minority group in the world • The impact of impairments upon the performance of activities commonly accepted as the basic elements of everyday living • If individuals are hindered in their mobility, domestic routine or occupation they are considered to have a disability.

  5. I will be talking only about permanent disabilities • Even relatively mild impairments can compete

  6. Labelling • Sticking to” everyday living” definition does not completely overcome what is and what is not a disability • Many individuals are able to function very well in everyday living

  7. Able athletes with disabilities • From a psychological point of view, in a sporting environment athletes are more alike than different regardless of their intellectual, sensory or physical capabilities • Factors that influence the development of mental skills will vary depending on disability e.g. visualisation, relaxation techniques

  8. Reduced opportunities to the sports participation • Health complications • Low employment rates • Reduced social contact • These injustices make sports critical for the psychological, physiological and social well-being of people with disabilities

  9. Current levels of sports participation: • Adults with a disability and sport (National survey 2001) • Limiting long-standing illness, wide variety of disabilities including emotional, cognitive, pain, neuromuscular • Excluding walking, participation rates 38% in disabled compared to 59% for able-bodied • Those with ambulation difficulties were least likely to partake in sport. Only 19% of ambulation difficulties partook in sport

  10. Survey results continued • 65% would like to play more sport with swimming the most popular • Nine out of 10 of top 10 sports were played as individuals rather than team sports • Disabled men are more likely to do sport than women

  11. How people react or adjust to their disability • Depends on the nature of disability • Age at onset of disability • Type of onset ie sudden, prolonged or self induced • Specific functions impaired • Severity of impairment • Levels and persistence of pain • How visible disability is • Previous life experiences • Personality • Social support

  12. Progressives or nonprogressive • Amputations, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries not going to change appreciably • Multiple sclerosis or neuromuscular conditions require people to confront an active disease process as well as the impairments • Not always obvious if they are progressive

  13. Static or dynamic disability • Static disabilities-no changes occurred during sport • Dynamic disabilities-physical state or condition can be altered during physical activity. Important when considering psychological techniques

  14. Able-bodied versus disabled • More similarities than differences reported when comparing disabled and able-bodied athletes psychological parameters. • Below the average tension, depression, anger, fatigue and confusion found in both able-bodied and disabled athletes. Both groups demonstrate responses to success/failure in a similar way

  15. Perceived psychological parameters affected by sport • Self-esteem • Body image • Perceived competence • Social interaction • More autonomous

  16. Self-esteem • Based on Success experiences • Favourable judgements from significant others • Athletes with disabilities have higher self-esteem than non-athletic individuals with disabilities • Is participation in sport trivialised? • Positive and negative appraisals are made about disabled athletes performances • Limited research looking at self esteem in disabled athletes compared to self-esteem in able-bodied athletes

  17. Body image • No strong evidence to suggest disabled suffer from adverse body image dissatisfaction than able-bodied populations • people with disabilities tend to be more focused on body image-may reflect on the awareness of their “differences”

  18. A visible difference in appearance result in altered body image because they often receive cues from the environment ie people staring “Poor you” look • Increased satisfaction with body image in those that participate in sport

  19. Perceived competence • Sport increases participants efficacy in physical capabilities • Most Studies report a sense of empowerment as a result of sport • 24 college athletes described sport as a vehicle to display competence and refute stereotypes of their incompetence (Taub, 1999) • Maintaining function (this is considered more important by parents)

  20. Confidence gained in sport generalises to other life activities • Few studies have looked at sport as an intervention. Martin-Ginis (2003) increase in self concept at 3, 6, 9 months in SCI compared to control

  21. Social interaction • May serve as a vehicle to allow increased social interaction and promote social support among individuals who share similar life experiences

  22. Strategies for autonomy • Self-determination • Setting personal goals • Focusing on positive aspects of life

  23. Perceived psychological parameters affected by sport • Self-esteem • Body image • Perceived competence • Social interaction • More autonomous

  24. Congenital versus acquired • Disabilities can be sensory, physical or intellectual. All of these can be congenital or acquired • Approximately 85% of athletes with physical or sensory impairment have an acquired disability • Congenital conditions gradually realise they are different to the community. • Acquired conditions may already have positive or negative views of disability • Sudden/slow onset

  25. Acquired injuries • Do experience initially loss of confidence, mental inactivity, reduced perception of physical competence, resulting in reduced social integration • Massive change in a person’s position • Tasiemski et al (2005) demonstrated a higher satisfaction with life in general in sci individuals involved in sports compared to those not in sport

  26. Congenital versus acquired • Lower levels of athletic identity (Tasiemski2004) in SCI individuals than able-bodied adults and adolescents with physical disabilities • Number of hours participating in sport significantly reduced after injury • Number of individuals who continue to be involved in sport is reduced after injury

  27. Emotional Response to acquired injury • Fear of unknown • Tension, anger, depression • Frustration, boredom • Grief • Emotional coping

  28. Those with acquired disabilities report more benefits e.g. mastering a new skill, reduced sense of dependence, increase confidence in physical abilities beyond the sporting environment than those with congenital disabilities

  29. Active verses in active pre-disability • If active pre-injury less problems with training • Both groups reported varying times back to activity • Examples of some people throwing themselves into sport and others avoiding it at all costs • Strong athletic identity has been linked to post injury depression • Therapists not considered an important source of information! • Higher levels of activity associated with smaller discrepancy between pre-and post-injury self concept Wu and Williams, 2000

  30. Motivational reasons for sport • Fun • Fitness • Health • Competition • Social • Rehabilitation • Differs depending if male or female and level of activity

  31. Level playing field?

  32. Barriers to sport • National survey- • Health limitations, lack of time, lack of money • One in 10 had had negative experiences in sport due to their disability • Most frequent help with advice on what they can do • lack of information available

  33. 72% said they needed help or adapted equipment to take part in sport, association between level of care and reduced exercise

  34. Barriers continue • Attitudes of society at large • Architectural and physical although national survey only 3% of respondents cited lack of facilities • Wheelchair users described accessibility as one of the key barriers (Pluym et al 1997) • Difficulty in getting sporting wheelchairs

  35. Potential psychological barriers • Overprotective parents • Pushy parents-believe peers are more accepting his child is physically active • Reduced self confidence • Dislike of traditional sports for people with disabilities

  36. Britain (2004) and page (2001) • Disability is connected to incapability • Disability becomes the dominant feature of social identity • Athletes perceive themselves to be a burden on society

  37. Competing against able-bodied • Normalises disability • reduces social stigmatization • Oscar Pistorius However….. • a swimmer with an arm amputation, disqualified for failing to touch the wall with both hands • Benchpress amputee competitor disqualified for not having both feet on the floor, when he used his prosthesis disqualified for using unapproved equipment

  38. Other people’s views of disability sport • Often their abilities are not appreciated, there is no expectation of skill mere act of participating is seen as an accomplishment as if athletes should spend their time at home doing nothing • Media coverage

  39. Media coverage • Disability as an emblem of evil • Disabled as monsters • Disability as a loss of one’s humanity • Disability as total dependency and lack of self-determination • The image of the disabled as the maladjusted person • Disability with compensation or substitute gift e.g. blind • A disability leading to courageousness or achievement • Disability and sexuality • Disability as an object of pity • The disabled as an object of charityHaralambos and Holborn, 2000

  40. Media coverage 2004 sports personality of the year Tanni won third place

  41. Media coverage • Media coverage suggest the value placed on it by programmers and perceived interest • Lack of exposure has numerous knock-on effects • Lessens the possibility of non-participating athletes being aware of it or inspired to take part • Limited role models with a disability

  42. Athletes themselves can be discriminated to other athletes • Disability groups can be prejudiced against other disability groups-supporting groups can represent those with specific disabilities, conditions fighting against each other for limited government funding all for integration with able-bodied organisations

  43. Psychology of injury

  44. Personality • 1. Hardiness: curiosity, willingness to commit, seeing change as a challenge, control over ones life. • 2. Locus of control: degree to which individuals view their lives & environment as under their personal control (internal vs external) -2 characteristics have a direct relation to stress. • 3. Achievement motivation: the need to succeed and the need to avoid failure. • 4. Competitive trait anxiety: High need to avoid failure (i.e. high trait anxiety) appraise more situations as stressful stress.

  45. Psychosocial Issues & Injury • Numerous challenges evident • Coping with pain • Discomfort of rehabilitation • Feelings of distress • Concerns about outcome • Isolation • Trust in the rehabilitation process

  46. Stressors • Physical • E.g. Pain, permanent physical changes • Rehabilitation Environment • E.g. Lack of personal attention, poor quality • Emotional • E.g. Trauma, loss & grief, setback • Cognitive • E.g. Threat to future performance, life, career, self-concept • Financial • E.g. loss of income • Social • Isolation, social role, pressure from others

  47. Appraisal • Perception about: • cause of injury • recovery status • availability of social support • Ability to cope • Athlete self-perception (self worth, value, abilities/capabilities) • Self esteem/self-confidence/self efficacy • Importance for application within rehabilitation?

  48. Emotional Response • Fear of unknown • Tension, anger, depression • Frustration, boredom • Grief • Emotional coping • Importance for application within rehabilitation?

  49. Practical Implications? • Response to loss results in the disruption of goal-directed behaviour. • Goal setting • Restore goal-directed behaviour • Enhance motivation & adherence to rehabilitation • Counteract feelings of apathy • Positive effect on self-confidence.

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