A qualitative examination of the psychosocial determinants of parents' decisions to support sport participation for youth with mobility impairments


The promotion of sport participation for youth with mobility impairments has been identified as a critical area for future research (Rimmer & Rowland, 2008). Researchers have recognized parents as potentially having an important influence on youth with mobility impairments’ sport participation (Kowalchuk & Crompton, 2009). The current study examined psychosocial determinants of parental decisions to support sport participation for youth with mobility impairments, with the purpose of comparing and contrasting constructs influencing parents of athletes and parents of non-athletes. Ten parents (Mage = 42.20; SD = 5.94) of athletes and ten parents (Mage = 42.50; SD = 6.62) of non-athletes were recruited to take part in semi-structured qualitative interviews with question development guided by the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA; Schwarzer, 1992). Following a content analysis, eight constructs from HAPA emerged as relevant to parental decisions: (1) attitudes; (2) intentions; (3) positive outcome expectations; (4) planning; (5) risk perceptions; (6) task self-efficacy; (7) maintenance self-efficacy; and (8) recovery self-efficacy. Other main themes that emerged included social support, barriers, facilitators, and resources. Differences among parents of athletes and non-athletes were apparent in how the constructs manifested. For example, while parents of non-athletes considered cost as influential for task self-efficacy, parents of athletes identified the availability and accessibility of sport programs. These findings provide a starting point for the development of a conceptual model of psychosocial determinants of parental support for sport participation for youth with mobility impairments. With further investigation, researchers can achieve the ultimate goal of developing interventions targeting parents to promote sport participation to youth with mobility impairments.

Acknowledgments: Social Science and Humanities Research Council