I'm Nice, I'm Smart, I Like Karate: Girls with Physical Disabilities' Perceptions of Physical Recreation


  • Leandra A. Bedini
  • Denise M. Anderson


Girls with Disabilities, Physical Activity, Empowerment


Healthy People 2010: Objectives for Improving Health (USDHHS, 2003) stated that more people with disabilities and women report no leisure-time physical activities than people without disabilities and men. Similarly, children with disabilities are often not included in physical education and playground activities. Therefore, girls with physical disabilities are confronted with a "double whammy" of gender and disability to compromise their self-image. While little research exists that explores physical activity for females with disabilities specifically, it has been found that physical activity is important for their quality of life, sense of control, and autonomy. This preliminary study was conducted using a phenomenological approach to examine the perceptions of girls with physical disabilities regarding physical recreation pursuits. Results from in-depth interviews generated three themes: meanings of physical activity, ownership of disability, and poor access to role models. Recommendations for alternate research methodologies as well as future content areas are discussed.





Research Papers