Quality participation experiences in the physical activity domain: Perspectives of veterans with a physical disability

Celina H. Shirazipour, Brett Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
508 Downloads (Pure)



An important consideration for physical activity (PA) participation for individuals with a physical disability, including veterans, is that opportunities exist for full participation. Full participation can be understood as both the quantity and quality of participation. The objective of this study is to explore perceptions of a quality PA experience for military veterans with a physical disability.


Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore perspectives of a quality PA experience.


Eighteen veterans (15 men, 3 women) with a physical disability were recruited using maximum variation sampling to take part in interviews. The interviews explored their PA experiences, with a focus on exploring participants' perspective of a quality PA experience. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.


Two overarching themes, elements of a quality experience and conditions enabling access to a quality experience, were identified. Within the overarching theme of elements of a quality experience, four key themes were identified: group cohesion, challenge, having a role, and independence and choice. A further three key themes (the physical and social environments, and program structure) were identified within the overarching theme of conditions for accessing the quality experience.


The findings both support and extend previous conceptualizations of quality participation. They provide insight into context-specific understandings of quality for PA and veterans. More broadly, the study contributes towards the literature on adapted PA participation, and provides a framework for practitioners aiming to foster quality PA experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-50
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date24 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Impairment
  • Military
  • Participation
  • Sport


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