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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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Social Barriers

Social Barriers

(p.313) 29 Social Barriers
Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology

Jeffrey J. Martin

Oxford University Press

People with disabilities often face social barriers to physical activity (PA). The purpose of this chapter is to survey research on the most common social groups who limit or prevent people with disabilities from being involved in sport and exercise. Many people with disabilities, especially those with severe disabilities, may need personal assistance to engage in PA, and a lack of personal assistance is often an obstacle to PA. Children with impairments report that not having someone to play with makes them disinclined to engage in PA. When parents are fearful of their children getting hurt in sport they can become barriers to their children’s PA. Various healthcare professionals working in assisted living settings may prevent adequate PA when they view it as harmful to individuals with disabilities and refuse to help patients be active. Community, recreation, and fitness facility personnel can be viewed as barriers when they exhibit dismissive attitudes toward individuals with impairments who wish to engage in exercise and sport. Physical education teachers lacking academic preparation and confidence in adapting games and sports for students with disabilities act as impediments to PA. Thus many people in the social worlds of individuals with disabilities actively and passively limit their ability to engage in PA.

Keywords:   social support, social barriers, healthcare professionals, play, peers, parents, physical education, physical activity

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