3 years ago

Participating more, participating better: Health benefits of adaptive leisure for people with disabilities

Delphine Labbé, William C. Miller, Ruby Ng

Publication date: Available online 9 November 2018

Source: Disability and Health Journal

Author(s): Delphine Labbé, William C. Miller, Ruby Ng


Increasing participation in recreational leisure activities (RLA) could be an effective vehicle for social inclusion and improvement of the health of people with disabilities. Unfortunately, many barriers limit their participation in RLA. Interventions to improve access to RLA are often limited to therapeutic or adaptive sports in rehabilitation. Knowledge about the benefits of adaptive RLA in the community is still needed.


/Hypothesis. The aim of this study was to assess the benefits of adaptive RLA offered in the community for people with disabilities, and to document the facilitators and barriers to participation.


This paper presents the qualitative results of a mixed-methods study. The participants were members with disabilities (n=19), volunteers (n=9), and staff members (n=8) of an organization offering various adaptive RLA in the community. Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and naturalistic observations were conducted. The data were analyzed using an inductive content analysis approach.


Three overarching themes emerged from the analysis: 1) “Personal enrichment” illustrated the individual benefits experienced by the member with disabilities; 2) “Collective impact” represented the social benefits for the members and their communities; and 3) “Contributors to the RLA experience” concerned the facilitators and barriers to participation.


Considering the numerous benefits of adaptive RLA, it is necessary to implement specific policies to support integrated community programs or accessible public transports to allow full participation of people with disabilities, thereby increasing their social inclusion.

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