Original Research

Factors that relate to sport participation of adolescents with a mobility impairment

Aletta M. Moll, Garfield Bester
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a614 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.614 | © 2019 Aletta M. Moll, Garfield Bester | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 January 2019 | Published: 23 September 2019

About the author(s)

Aletta M. Moll, Department of Psychology of Education, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Garfield Bester, Department of Psychology of Education, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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Background: There are multiple factors that make it difficult for learners with a mobility impairment to participate in sport, if not impossible. Unfortunately, it is not known which of these factors can be considered as the most important ones.

Objectives: The main objective was to obtain clarity on the factors that differentiate best between learners who participate in sport and those learners who are not participating.

Method: In total, 140 boys and girls with different types of mobility impairments participated. Information was obtained on inevitable factors such as age and gender, structure factors such as type of school and hostel dwelling and personal factors such as emotions and relationships with parents and peers.

Results: Four factors emerged that explained 22% of the variance in the distinctive characteristics of the group that participates in sport and the non-participating group. Age was the most important variable explaining 9% of the variance followed by trust (an emotional variable), gender and health.

Conclusion: Children with a mobility impairment should be encouraged to start participating in sport at an early age. Specific attention should be given to girls who are more reluctant to participate. Health is a factor that can inhibit sports participation; however, it should not be overemphasised. The emphasis should rather be on the development of trust, which will help adolescents with an impairment to take responsible risks in an adaptive sports environment.


mobility impairment; sports participation; adolescents; adaptive sport; disability


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