n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Socialization of elite wheelchair tennis players in South Africa : social psychology of sport and physical activity

Volume 18, Issue Issue-4_2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Individuals with physical disabilities are often stigmatized and discriminated against due to their appearance and the assumed variance from the 'norms' of competence. This may lead to impaired social interaction, especially in the mainstream, which may result in a lack of self-esteem. It is, however, evident that sport participation enhances the potential for social support and integration. The purpose of this exploratory study was therefore to collect qualitative data from elite national wheelchair tennis players (n=8). This data was gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews regarding their socialization processes into and via sport. From the results three main themes were identified, namely, 1. School environment (change and mobilization; inclusion/exclusion), 2. Sport back ground (diversity; acceptance; specialization), 3. Acceptance and relationships (family; friends; coaches; institutions; clubs). The findings indicate that the participants were empowered by taking part in wheelchair tennis (sport for people with disabilities) to facilitate goal attainment and to enhance social integration.

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