Sports and Disability: Enhanced Health, Self-Efficacy, and Social Inclusion Through Athletic Participation

Main Article Content

Tayo Moss
Trenton Joe Landon
Allison Fleming


disability, social inclusion, rehabilitation counseling


Sports and recreational participation have demonstrated health and social benefits. However, persons with disabilities are typically not provided the same opportunities as people without disabilities. This article discusses the benefits of sports and recreation, and the barriers that have existed for persons with disabilities. The purpose is to demonstrate the need for rehabilitation counselors to consider the utility of physical activity as a way to enhance health, self-efficacy, and community inclusion. Recommendations are presented for rehabilitation counselor advocacy for improved participation in sport and recreational pursuits by persons with disabilities.
Abstract 3882 | PDF Downloads 494 Word Downloads 387 Text Downloads 167 Separate Title Page Downloads 0 R. Bailey - Author agreement Downloads 0 WHO-Permission to Reuse Table Downloads 0 Response to Copy Editor Suggestions Downloads 0


Abbot, S. & McConkey, R. (2006). The barriers to social inclusion as perceived by people with intellectual disabilities. The Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 10(3), 275-287.

Abdel-Shehid, G. (2002). Muhammad Ali: America’s b-side. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 26(3), 317-325.

Aguiar, L. T., Martins, J. C., Nadeau, S., Britto, R. R., Teixeira-Salmela, L. F., & Faria, C. D.
(2017). Efficacy of interventions to improve physical activity levels in individuals with stroke: a systematic review protocol. BMJ open, 7(1)

Alghazho, E. M., Dodeen, H., & Algaryouti, I. A. (2003). Attitudes of pre-service
teachers towards persons with disabilities: Predictions for the success of inclusion. College Student Journal, 37(4), 515-522.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.

Anderson, D. M., Wozencroft, A., & Bedini, L. A. (2008). Adolescent girls’ involvement
in disability sports: A comparison of social support mechanisms. Journal of Leisure Research, 40(2), 183-207.

Anderson, L. S., & Heyne, L. A. (2010). Physical activity for children and adults with disabilities: An issue of “amplified” importance. Disability Health Journal, 3(2), 71–73.

Anthony, W. A. (1972). Societal rehabilitation: Changing society’s attitudes toward the physically and mentally disabled. Rehabilitation Psychology, 19(3), 117-126.

Astin, A.W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40(5), 518-529.

Bailey, R. (2005). Evaluating the relationship between physical education, sport, and social inclusion. Educational Review, 57(1), 71-90.

Bandura, A. (1977) Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Barlow, J., & Harrison, K. (1996). Focusing on empowerment: Facilitating self-help in young people with arthritis through a disability organization. Disability and Society, 11(4), 539-552.

Bergstahler, S., & Doe, T. (2004). Disability-related simulations: If, when, and how to use them in professional development. Review of Disability Studies, 1(2).

Bigby, C. (2008). Known well by no-one: Trends in the informal social networks of middle-
aged and older people with intellectual disability five years after moving to the community. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 33(2), 148-157.

Blake, T., & Rust, J. (2002). Self-esteem and self-efficacy of college student with disabilities.
College Student Journal, 36(2), 214-220.

Blinde, E. M., & Taub, D. E. (1999). Personal empowerment through sport and physical
fitness activity: Perspectives from male college students with physical and sensory disabilities. Journal of Sport Behavior, 22(2), 181-202.

Buntinx, W. E., & Schalack, R. L. (2010). Models of disability, quality of life, and
individualized supports: Implications for professional practice in intellectual disability. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 7(4), 283-294.

Burns, R. C., & Graefe, A. R. (2007). Constraints to outdoor recreation: Exploring the effects of disabilities on perceptions and participation. Journal of Leisure Research, 39(1), 156-181.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). CDC: 53 million adults in the US Live with a disability. Retrieved from

Chan, F., Tarvydas, V., Blalock, K., Strauser, D., & Atkins, B.J. (2009). Unifying and elevating rehabilitation counseling through model-driven, diversity-sensitive evidence based practice. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 52(2), 114–119.

Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). (2017). Code of professional ethics for rehabilitation counselors. Schaumburg, IL: Author. Retrieved from .

Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). (2015). CRC/CRCC scope of practice. Schaumburg, IL: Author. Retrieved from

Craig, A. (1998). Relapse following treatment for stuttering: A critical review and correlative data. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 23(1), 1-30.

Curatolo, J. (2014, June 12). The benefits of team sport to promote social inclusion amongst the disadvantaged. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Davis, R., Rocco-Dillon, S., & Grenier, M. (2012). Implementing disability sports in the general physical education curriculum. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 83(5), 35-41.

DePauw, K., & Gavron, S. (1995). Sport and disability. Champaign, Ill., Human Kinetics.

Devine, M. A. (2013). Group member or outsider: Perceptions of undergraduates with disabilities on leisure time physical activity. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 26(2), 119-133.

Disabled Sports USA. (2009, May 19). Survey finds disabled sports USA participants twice as likely to be employed as adults with disabilities. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Dixon-Ibarra, A., & Driver, S. (2013). The role of self-efficacy in physical activity participation for persons with disabilities. Adapted Sport, Physical Education, and Recreational Therapy, 27(4), 31-36.

Durstine, J. L., Painter, P., Franklin, B. A., Morgan, D., Pitetti, K. H., & Roberts, S. O. (2000). Physical activity for the chronically ill and disabled. Journal of Sports Medicine, 30(3), 207-19.

Fleming, A. R., Fairweather, J. S., & Leahy, M. J. (2013). Quality of life as a potential rehabilitation service outcome: the relationship between employment, quality of life, and other areas. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 57(1), 9-22.

Foley, J. T., Harvey, S., Chun, H. J., & Kim, S. Y. (2008). The relationships among fundamental motor skills, health-related physical fitness, and body fatness in South Korean adolescents with mental retardation. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 79(2), 149-157.

Forrester-Jones, R., Carpenter, J., Coolen-Schrijner, P., Cambridge, P., Tate, A., Beecham, J., et al. (2006). The social networks of people with intellectual disability living in the community 12 years after resettlement from long-stay hospitals. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 19(4), 285-295.

Frankish, B.E. (Producer), & Robinson, P.A. (Director). (1989). Field of dreams (motion picture). United States of America: Universal City Studios, Inc.

French, S. (Ed.). (1994). On equal terms: Working with disabled people. Oxford: Butteworth-Heinemann.

Frost, S. (2014). The inclusion imperative: How real inclusion creates better business and builds better societies. Great Britain: Kogan Page Limited.

Grenier, M., & Kearns, C. (2012). The benefits of implementing disability sports in physical education: A model for success. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 83(4), 23-27.

Heath, W., & Fentem, P. H. (1997). Physical activity among persons with disabilities – A public health perspective. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 25, 195-234.

Kerstin, W., Gabriele, B., & Richard, L. (2006). What promotes physical activity after spinal cord injury? An interview study from a patient perspective. Disability and Rehabilitation, 28(8), 481–488.

Kiger, G. (1992). Disability simulations: Logical, methodological, and ethical issues. Disability, Handicap and Society, 7(1), 71-78.

Korte, G. (2016, March 22). Obama brings baseball diplomacy to Havana. USA TODAY. Retrieved from

Krahe, B., & Altwasser, C. (2006). Changing negative attitudes towards persons with physical disabilities: An experimental intervention. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 16(1), 59-69.

Kristen, L., Patriksson, G., & Fridlund, B. (2002) Conceptions of children and adolescents with physical disabilities about their participation in a sports programme. European Physical Education Review, 8(2), 139-156.

Kristen, L., Patriksson, G., & Fridlund, B. (2003). Parents’ conceptions of the influence of participation in a sport’s programme on their children and adolescents with physical disabilities. European Physical Education Review, 8(2), 139-156.

Kroll, T., Kehn, M., Ho, P., & Groah, S. (2007). The SCI Exercise Self-Efficacy Scale (ESES): Development and psychometric properties. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 4(34), 1–6.

Larkin, V.M., Alston, R.J., Middleton, R.A., & Wilson, K.B. (2003). Underrepresented ethnically and racially diverse aging populations with disabilities: Trends and recommendations. Journal of Rehabilitation, 69(2), 27-31.

Lippold, T., & Burns, J. (2009). Social support and intellectual disabilities: a comparison between social networks of adults with intellectual disability and those with physical disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 53(5), 463-473.

Lohrey, J. (2015). Disability issue in sports. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Mann, A. (1951). The Jackie Robinson story. New York: Grosset and Dunlap.

Martin, J. J. (2006). Psychosocial aspects of youth disability sport. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 23(1), 65-77.

McManus, J. L., Feyes, K. J., & Saucier, D. A. (2011). Contact and knowledge as predictors of attitudes toward individuals with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28(5), 579-590.

Middleton, J., Tran, Y., & Craig, A. (2007). Relationship between quality of life and self-efficacy in persons with spinal cord injuries. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 88(12), 1643–1648.

Milner, P., & Kelly, B. (2009). Community participation and inclusion: People with disabilities defining their place. Disability & Society, 24(1), 47-62.

Murphy, N. A., & Carbone, S. (2008). Promoting the participation of children with disabilities in sports, recreation, and physical activities. Pediatrics, 121(5), 1057-1061.

Nosek, M. A., Hughes, R. B., Robinson-Whelen, S., Taylor, H. B., & Howland, C. A. (2006). Physical activity and nutritional behaviors of women with physical disabilities: Physical, psychological, social, and environmental influences. Women’s Health Issues, 16(6), 323–333.

Pines, A. M., & Aronson, E. (1988). Career burnout. New York: Free Press

Quinn, G., & Doyle, S. (2012). Getting a life-living interpedently, and being included in the community: A legal study of the current use and future potential of the EU structural funds to contribute to the achievement of Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Persons with Disabilities. Regional Office for Europe.

Robertson, J., Emerson, E., Gregory, N., Hatton, C., Kessissoglu, S., Hallam, A., & Linehan, C., (2001). Social networks of people with mental retardation in residential settings. Mental Retardation, 39(3), 201-214.

Robinson-Smith, G., Johnston, M. V., & Allen, J. (2000). Self-care self-efficacy, quality of life, and depression after stroke. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 81(4), 460-4.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.

Rehabilitation Counseling Consortium. (2005). Rehabilitation counselor and rehabilitation counseling definitions. Schaumberg, IL: Commission for Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

Scarpa, S. (2011). Physical self-concept and self-esteem in adolescents and young adults with and without physical disability: The role of sports participation. European Journal of Adapted Physical Activity, 41(1), 38-53.

Sharma, U., Forlin, C., Loreman, T., & Earle, C. (2006). Pre-service teachers’ attitudes, concerns, and sentiments about inclusive education: An international comparison of the novice pre-service teachers. International Journal of Special Education, 21(2), 80-93.

Sherrill, C. (2004). Adapted physical activity, recreation and sport (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Simplican, S. C., Leader, G., Kosciulek, J., & Leahy, M. (2015). Defining social inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: An ecological model of social networks and community participation. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 38, 18-29.

Siperstein, G., Norins, J., & Mohler, A. (2007). Social acceptance and attitude change: Fifty years of research. In J.W. Jacobson, J.A. Mulick, & J. Rojahn (Eds.), Handbook of intellectual and developmental disabilities. New York: Springer.

Smart, J. (2016). Disability, society, and the individual (Third edition). Austin, TX: Pro-ED.

Smart, J. F., & Smart, D.W. (2006). Models of disability: Implications for the counseling profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84(1), 29-40.

Special Olympics. (2016). Who We Are. Retrieved from

Streber, R., Peters, S., & Pfeifer, K. (2016). Systematic review of correlates and determinants of physical activity in persons with multiple sclerosis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 97(4), 633-645.

Toombs, S. K. (1994). Disability and the self. In Changing the self: Philosophies, techniques, and experiences (Chapter 12). Retrieved from

United Nations. (n.d.). United nations enable development and human rights for all: Disability and sports. Retrieved from

United Nations. (2007). Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and its optional protocol. Retrieved from

United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF). (2013). The state of the world’s children 2013: Children with disabilities. Retrieved from

van der Ploeg, H. P., van der Beek, A. J., van der Woude, L. H., & van Mechelen, W. (2004). Physical activity for people with a disability. Sports Medicine, 34(10), 639-649.

Walker, H. M., Calkins, C., Wehmeyer, M. L., Walker, L., Bacon, A., Palmer, S. B., et al. (2011). A social ecological approach to promote self-determination. Exceptionality: A Special Education Journal, 19(1), 6-18.

Waring, A., & Mason, C. (2010). Opening doors: promoting social inclusion through increased sports opportunities. Sport in Society, 13(3), 517-259.

Wright, M. O.D., & Folger, S. F. (2017). Creating a Safe Haven Following Child Maltreatment: The Benefits and Limits of Social Support. Parenting and Family Processes in Child Maltreatment and Intervention (pp. 23-34). Springer International Publishing.

Wilson, M. C., & Scior, K. (2014). Attitudes towards individuals with disabilities as measured by the implicit association test: A literature review. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(2), 294-321.

World Health Organization. (2002). Towards a common language of functioning, disability, and health: ICF. Geneva, Switzerland.

World Health Organization & World Bank. (2011). Malta. World report on disability. Retrieved from:

Similar Articles

<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.