Effects of a school-based sports program on psychosocial health and attention in youth with physical disabilities

Maremka Zwinkels, Marjolijn Ketelaar, Tanja Nijboer, Olaf Verschuren, Saskia Te Velde, Janke de Groot, Tim Takken, Anne Visser-Meily

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Youth with physical disabilities have lower psychosocial health and attention compared to their typically developing peers. Recent research has shown positive associations between sports participation and these outcomes. The purpose of the current study was to explore whether a school-based sports program affects psychosocial health and attention in youth with physical disabilities. METHODS: Seventy children and adolescents (mean age (SD) 13.8 (2.9) years, aged 8-19 years, 54% boys) with physical disabilities were included in this quasi-experimental study from schools for special education. The sports group (n= 31) followed a school-based sports program (45 min/week) for six months. The control group followed the regular curriculum. Psychosocial health was assessed with self-perception (Self-Perception Profile for Children) and quality of life (DISABKIDS Chronic Generic Measure, DCGM-37). Attention was measured with experimental tasks on search efficiency, sustained attention, and distractibility. RESULTS: Linear regression analyses revealed no differences between the sports and control group for self-perception, quality of life, and attention. CONCLUSION: A school-based sports program seems to have no effect on psychosocial health and attention in youth with physical disabilities. Research into the important factors influencing these variables is needed before further resources can be given to improve sports participation for increasing psychosocial health and attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine
Volume13
Issue number1
Early online date27 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Youth
  • attention
  • physical disability
  • quality of life
  • self-concept
  • sports

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