A phenomenological approach: The impact on families of sports participation for a child with a physical disability




Hunter, Darlene E.

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This qualitative research study used a phenomenological perspective to describe the impact on families of sports participation for a child with a physical disability. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with 23 parents of a child between the ages of 9 and 17 with a physical disability who participated in sports for at least 6 months. The parents perception was studied by analyzing their answers told in the interview and was further framed by feminist theory and family systems theory.

The recruitment flyer was disseminated on behalf of the researcher through several different social organizations for disabled sports such as Wheelchair Sports USA. National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA), and through smaller organizations, throughout the U.S. After the recruitment flyer was disseminated, the researcher received 27 responses from parents' who qualified form this study. Of those 27 responses, 3 had children over the age of 17, 2 more did not return the correct paperwork, and 1 submitted their paperwork after the deadline, resulting in 23 parents who completed the demographic questionnaire and the interview. Semi-structured face-to-face and phone interviews of the parents were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed for recurring themes.

Trustworthiness was established by using a transcriptionist, peer debriefing, and member checking. Analysis of data was conducted by the researcher reading the transcripts the first time through to become familiar with the interviews, and then read them through for a second time before taking notes. The researcher then re-read the transcripts making notes and color coding similar concepts and themes. The researcher tallied similar themes and concepts that emerged from the data. The researcher then re-read the transcripts keeping in mind the themes. Four major themes emerged from the data and were compared with existing literature: (a) parents desires for their child, (b) advantages of sport, (c) barriers in participation of wheelchair sports, and (d) family resilience, Additional results included the parents' expectations of coaches and wheelchair sports as well as the supports needed for their child to continue their participation in wheelchair sports. Finally, parents shared their advice to other parents.



Social sciences, Disabilities, Family impact, Family resilience, Feminist theory, Qualitative, Sports, Wheelchair sports