BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
Bern Open Repository and Information System

Participation of people experiencing disabilities in organized sports

Albrecht, Julia (2020). Participation of people experiencing disabilities in organized sports. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

20albrecht_j.pdf - Thesis
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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Policy initiatives like the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Switzerland ratified in 2014, demand the full and equal participation of people experiencing disabilities in mainstream and disability-specific sports activities. Organized sports are thought to promote the participation of people experiencing disabilities, as it can provide a platform for creating social networks. However, people experiencing disabilities show lower participation rates in organized sports than the general population. Moreover, they often practice in separate disability training groups and sports clubs because they face social exclusion from integrative/inclusive mainstream sports. A systematic literature review (manuscript 1) of recent research on social participation of people experiencing disabilities in organized sports in separate settings (i.e., only with other people experiencing disabilities) and integrative/inclusive settings (i.e., alongside people experiencing and not experiencing disabilities) shows that organized sports can support but also hinder social participation of people experiencing disabilities. These ambiguous findings imply that social participation strongly relies on specific factors and conditions at the individual level, organizational level of training groups and sports clubs, and at the environmental level. Therefore, this doctoral thesis aims to provide insights into the degree of social integration of sports club members experiencing disabilities and compares it to that of members without disabilities. First, we conducted a quantitative study (manuscript 2) on data from 13,098 members in 642 sports clubs across ten European countries (1,482 study participants experiencing at least one disability). Second, for a qualitative study (manuscript 3) 16 training groups in Switzerland where people experiencing disabilities participate were selected. Out of the 16 training groups, 3 integrative/inclusive training groups were selected for an in-depth multiple case study. Non-participant observations and semi-structured interviews with coaches and participants were analyzed thematically. In manuscripts 2 and 3, social integration is defined as a multidimensional concept that focuses on socio-cultural (culturation) and socio-affective (interaction, identification) dimensions as well as the additional dimension of placement in manuscript 3. The findings of manuscripts 2 and 3 show that members experiencing disabilities are to the same extent socially integrated as members without disabilities, except those experiencing certain disability types. Especially relevant factors for social integration of members experiencing disabilities on the individual level are affiliation with and participation in a club (volunteering, participation in competitive sport, long-term membership, frequency of sports participation, team/group size). In manuscript 2, higher education level is among the relevant factors that facilitate understanding/acceptance of members experiencing disabilities, but it also negatively correlates with identification. Members experiencing social restrictions score lower in interaction and identification. Manuscript 3 shows that members need their own initiative and/or social support for joining a training group. Furthermore, in manuscript 2, we show that participants experiencing disabilities that practice in both settings (separate and integrative/inclusive) are slightly better socially integrated regarding interaction than those practicing in a separate setting only. Overall, this doctoral thesis shows that the degree of social integration seems to rely more on individual than on organizational factors. However, factors on the organizational and environmental levels to compensate for individual disadvantages have to be considered in the future.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Cumulative
Date of Defense: 14 December 2020
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment
Institute / Center: 07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
Depositing User: Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2021 11:41
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2021 01:30

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