Does Culture Matter? An Exploratory Study of Culture in the Implementation of an Adaptive Sports Program


  • Hannah Wells
  • Lauren Duffy Clemson University
  • Maddie Nance Clemson University
  • Lauren Fleming Clemson University
  • Garrett A. Stone Vancouver Island University
  • Jasmine Townsend Clemson University
  • Samantha L. Stevenson Clemson University



Cross-cultural adaptive sports programming, culture, Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, program implementation, therapeutic recreation


There is limited research surrounding the effectiveness of program implementation, and the research that does exist often considers culture as a minor contributing factor. In this study, culture is re-framed as a major contributing factor of program implementation using an international adaptive sports program as an example. The program was planned and implemented by a team of U.S. facilitators for a group of Thai students and professors in Thailand. The purpose of this study was to understand the cultural processes that influence program implementation in the context of adaptive sport. The research team conducted observations of the program delivery and semi-structured interviews with the U.S. program facilitators. Guided by Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, the findings consider how culture influenced program implementation. Building from existing program implementation models, this study proposes a modified model of program implementation in which culture is positioned as a factor influencing all aspects of program implementation.

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Author Biographies

Lauren Duffy, Clemson University

Lauren Duffy is an Assistant Professor in Travel and Tourism within the Department of Parks, Recreation,
and Tourism Management at Clemson University. Her research interests include power and ideology in
tourism planning, social and environmental justice, and critical pedagogy in the classroom. In the
international context, her past and current research program includes working with communities in
Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, South Africa, and Zambia. Her research also
explores the impact of cross-cultural exchanges, highlighting the importance of learning from, and with,
people across the world.

Maddie Nance, Clemson University

Maddie Nance is a senior Recreational Therapy Major in the accelerated B.S. to M.S. program at
Clemson University. For the past 3 years, she has been in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
Management Departmental Honors Program where she has learned about research, culture, disability,
and program implementation. She has worked with children and adolescents with disabilities for 5 years
and recently became a Certified Adaptive Recreation and Sports Specialist (CARSS-I) through Blaze

Lauren Fleming, Clemson University

Lauren Fleming is a senior Recreational Therapy major at Clemson University in the accelerated B.S. to
M.S. program. She has been a part of the Honors program in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
program for almost 3 years. She is working towards a CTRS certification, and is currently a Certified
Adaptive Recreation and Sports Specialist (CARSS-1).

Garrett A. Stone, Vancouver Island University

Garrett A. Stone is a Professor of Recreation and Tourism Management at Vancouver Island University.
Garrett’s current research predominately focuses on the transformative nature of travel and tourism
experiences and education. Under this umbrella, Garrett researches topics such as identity
development, cross-cultural adjustment, cross-cultural program implementation, internationalization,
and critical pedagogy. Garrett’s prior research and professional experience is in the area of therapeutic
recreation with emphases in youth development, youth sport, and outdoor-adventure recreation.

Jasmine Townsend, Clemson University

Jasmine Townsend is an Assistant Professor in Recreational Therapy within the Department of Parks,
Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University. Her current research area focuses on the
health outcomes of recreational therapy for military service members and their families, and
understanding the influences of family leisure involvement on the well-being of military families. Dr.
Townsend’s practical experience as a CTRS includes working in community adaptive sports and
therapeutic recreation programs, in wilderness and residential treatment programs for youth with
behavioral and mental health conditions, and implementing international adaptive sport training
programs in countries like Indonesia, Mexico, and Thailand.

Samantha L. Stevenson, Clemson University

Samantha L. Stevenson is a senior, psychology major from Canton, Georgia. She is currently finishing her
undergrad at Clemson University and will begin her graduate degree in August at Belmont University's
School of Occupational Therapy. During her years at Clemson, Samantha has been involved in the
Calhoun Honors Program as an undergraduate researcher, the Tri-County area as a Young Life leader,
the Clemson LIFE Program as a volunteer, and the Nieri Enrichment Center as a student support staff for
athlete development. She is excited to continue as a student and begin a doctoral program in
occupation therapy this fall.





Research Papers