Professional Preparedness and Psychosocial Beliefs as Predictors of Quality Physical Education and Recreation Services to Students with Disabilities


  • Thea C. Kavanaugh
  • Joe Tomaka New Mexico State University
  • Ernesto Moralez St. Lawrence University



adapted physical education, attitude, public schools, recreational therapy, self-efficacy


The purpose of this study was to examine how professional preparedness and psychosocial beliefs affected behavioral intentions and quality service behaviors in providing physical education (PE) and recreation services to students with disabilities (SWD). Participants of an online survey included New Mexico adapted physical education (APE) teachers (N=42) and recreational therapists (RT; N=13) and a sample of PE teachers (N=63). Analyses revealed significant differences between PE teachers and personnel in specialty professional disciplines. APE and RT personnel reported greater positive attitudes, higher self-efficacy, greater behavioral intention, and more engagement in quality service behaviors than PE teachers. The results have implications for the selection and training of school personnel hired to provide PE and recreation services to SWD.

Author Biographies

Thea C. Kavanaugh

Thea Kavanaugh, MPH, CTRS, CHES is a recreational therapist and CEO of REAL (Restoring and Enhancing Active Lifestyles) Therapeutics, LLC.

Joe Tomaka, New Mexico State University

Joe Tomaka, Ph.D. is Professor of Public Health, Graduate Program Coordinator, and Director of Crimson Research

Ernesto Moralez, St. Lawrence University

Ernesto A. Moralez, Ph.D., MPH, CHES, is Assistant Professor of Public Health and Co-Coordinator of the Public Health Minor