Integrating insights from the parasport community to understand optimal Experiences: The Quality Parasport Participation Framework

M. Blair Evans, Celina H. Shirazipour, Veronica Allan, Mona Zanhour, Shane N. Sweet, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, Amy E. Latimer-Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Objectives: Through parasport, adults and young athletes with disability often report increases in well-being and related psychosocial perceptions. While researchers often attribute these benefits to the positive social experiences that go along with sport participation, optimal parasport experiences have not been comprehensively defined. Applying a conceptualization of the experiential aspects of ‘participation’ across disability settings (Martin Ginis, Evans, Mortenson, & Noreau, 2017) we sought to generate an evidence-informed framework of optimal parasport participation. Design/Method: The framework was developed through a multi-step process that involved establishing the scope and purpose of the framework, synthesizing existing literature, and constructing the framework alongside stakeholder insights. The latter step entailed four phases based on AGREE-II reporting criteria: (a) Phase 1, where propositions about quality experiences were derived from the literature synthesis, (b) Phases 2 and 3, where we developed a provisional framework informed by stakeholders using an expert round-table (n = 16) and an online survey (n = 80), and (c) Phase 4, where the framework was refined through an online expert panel including researchers and sport administrators (n = 20). Results: The resulting hierarchical framework focuses on 25 conditions across the physical environment, sport activities, and social environment of parasport organizations as precursors to quality experiences that, in turn, reinforce quality participation. Quality experience stands at the core, defined as a feeling state derived from athletes’ appraisals of whether their experiences satisfy one or more of their values and needs across six elements: belongingness, autonomy, challenge, mastery, engagement and meaning. Conclusions: The ‘Quality Parasport Participation Framework’ directs future research examining parasport athletes’ subjective experiences, and sets forth provisional guidelines for promoting quality experiences within parasport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
StatePublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology


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