Constructing Social Acceptance in Inclusive Leisure Contexts: The Role of Individuals with Disabilities


  • Mary Ann Devine
  • Brett Lashua


Inclusive Leisure, Social Acceptance, People with Disabilities, Social Construction Theory


This study examined perceptions of people with disabilities relative to the roles they play in relation to social acceptance and their leisure experience. Male (n = 3) and female (n = 9) informants, age 11-35, participated in face-to-face interviews. All informants had visibly obvious disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy, Downs Syndrome, spina bifida), with European American (n = 9) and African American (n = 3) races represented, and were participants in inclusive leisure programs. Three conceptual categories were identified: degrees of social acceptance, construction of social acceptance, and the leisure experience. Overall, the data revealed participants with disabilities played a role in constructing social acceptance, either proactively or reactively, within inclusive leisure contexts. In addition, informants identified relationships between constructed acceptance and leisure frequency, friendship development, acceptance of differences, and leisure intentions. This study expands upon the understanding of the relationship between social acceptance and leisure experiences of people with disabilities by providing insight into their role while engaging in inclusive leisure programs.





Research Papers