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Title: Physical self-perceptions in wheelchair sport participants
Author: Ferreira, José Pedro Leitão
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2004
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The study of self-perceptions in the physical domain is still an underdeveloped area of research in many countries, such as Portugal. This issue is of even further interest when assessed in groups with physical impairment, whose perceptions may be formulated in different ways on different criteria as a result of their disability. The extent to which exercise and sport participation influences the development of self-perception and perceived competence in people with disabilities is also an unexplored area of research. There is a body of literature on disability and sport participation indicating that there is a great potential for involvement in sport to improve mental well-being in people with disabilities (Sherrill, 1997). Further research and wellcontrolled studies are required to support this presumption. The general aim of the present research is to develop a better understanding of the importance of exercise and sport participation in the development of self-perceptions in groups with physical disability. The present thesis involves a sequence of three studies focusing on the construction of self-perceptions in different Portuguese population groups with and without disability using a Portuguese version of the Physical Self-Perception Profile - PSPP-P (Fonseca, Fox, & Almeida, 1995). The use of this instrument in groups with physical disability requires statistical support for its validity and reliability in the Portuguese population that has not been totally achieved yet. The pattern of mean score values presented in this study was similar to the one found in the development of the instrument with USA youth population. Study one provided support for the hierarchical organization of the self-perceptions in the physical domain as well as for gender differences with males scoring higher mean score values than females for all PSPP sub-domains as well as for GSE. However, structural equation modelling (SEM) did not provide support for the original four sub-domain factor model (Fox & Corbin, 1989) and a new three sub-domain factor model was proposed combining Condition and Sport items into a new sub-dimension, the Physical Confidence. Study two provided some critical information about PSPPp structure when used in groups with physical disability. Limited support was found for the existence of PSW as a mediator. The hierarchical structure exists among PSPPp sub-scales but not with GSE. An unusual lack of relationship between Physical Self-Worth and Global Self-Esteem was found suggesting that self-perceptions in the physical domain develop in an alternative way to the one some often confirmed for different age groups without disability. This lack of relationship was confirmed in the qualitative study which identified Body Attractiveness and individual attitudes towards the body including defensiveness and denial, and growth through adversity as some of the major mechanisms involved in the process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available