People with impairments often lack social connectedness, feel a lack of control, and struggle with regaining competence for various tasks after an acquired disability and rehabilitation challenges. Use of self-determination theory (SDT) and basic needs theory to examine these three needs appears particularly relevant for people with impairments and by extension to investigate if sport can help individuals meet their needs in each area. This chapter discusses the body of knowledge in disability sport using SDT. Research using SDT in disability sport appears more advanced than research examining other theories. For instance, researchers have tested theoretical propositions such as whether balancing the three areas of autonomy, competence, and relatedness helps promote optimal well-being or whether the absolute importance of meeting each need is more valuable. Research examining links between self-esteem, coping skills, anxiety, and SDT constructs has advanced the knowledge base in this area. Disability coaching research has used SDT to examine if autonomy-supportive coaching promotes well-being and better performance.
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