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Investigation of the Impact of Sports, Exercise, and Recreation Participation on Psychosocial Outcomes in a Population of Veterans with Disabilities

A Cross-sectional Study

Laferrier, Justin Z. PT, PhD, OCS, SCS, ATP, CSCS; Teodorski, Emily MSW; Cooper, Rory A. PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: December 2015 - Volume 94 - Issue 12 - p 1026–1034
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000263
Original Research Articles

Objective The aim of this study was to investigate possible effects that participation in sports, exercise, and recreation may have on self-esteem and quality-of-life in service members/veterans with disabilities.

Design Two hundred twenty service members/veterans with disabilities who were participants in one of three annual adaptive sporting events took part in this cross-sectional study. Variables of interest were years of sport, exercise, and recreation participation since the onset of disability as well as the type of activity they engaged in. Main outcome measures were self-esteem and quality-of-life.

Results A positive relationship was found between participant quality-of-life and the number of years spent participating in sports, exercise, and recreation since the onset of their disability. A significant difference was found between pre-event and postevent self-esteem scores. A significant difference was also found in self-esteem scores between the levels of years of participation in sports, exercise, and recreation when averaged across activity type. Finally, there were significant differences found on self-esteem scores between the levels of type of activity averaged across years of participation.

Conclusions Our results indicate that participation in sports, exercise, and recreation has a positive influence on self-esteem and quality-of-life in individuals with disabilities.

From the Physical Therapy Program, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut (JZL, ET); Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (JZL, ET, RAC); and Departments of Rehabilitation Science and Technology (RAC), Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (RAC), and Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (RAC).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Justin Z. Laferrier, PT, PhD, OCS, SCS, ATP, CSCS, University of Connecticut, 358 Mansfield Rd, Unit 1101, Storrs, CT 06269.

Funding was provided through a CPPF grant through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

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