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Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology$
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Jeffrey J. Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190638054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190638054.001.0001

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Peer Relationships

Peer Relationships

(p.91) 9 Peer Relationships
Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology

Jeffrey J. Martin

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the relation between sport and peer relationships for children with disabilities. Sport may be particularly valuable as a vehicle for the development of peer relationships, as many children with disabilities struggle with loneliness. Similar to many achievement-oriented social settings, sport can be a vehicle for positive, negative, and neutral experiences. For instance, sport has been linked to enhanced self-esteem, physical self-concept, positive mood states, and high-quality sport friendship. Sport can also mitigate negative affective states, such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, and fear. For example, segregated sport programs provide safe environments where adolescents with disabilities do not have to fear being teased or denigrated by able-bodied participants. However, experiences in integrated sport, with able-bodied children, can be beneficial if instructors create safe environments where teasing and bullying are not allowed. While children with disabilities are often victims of bullying, they can also be bullies in sport settings. Finally, sport experiences can be benign, with no discernible negative or positive ramifications.

Keywords:   integrated sport, loneliness, self-esteem, anxiety, friendship, social support, peer relationships, bullying

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