Exploring the perceived factors affecting participation in rugby for children with disabilities using the ‘F-words in child development’ framework: A mixed methods study

Connolly, Cathal
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the perceived facilitators and barriers to participation in rugby for children with disabilities from the perspective of three relevant stakeholders; parents of children with disabilities, rugby club personnel, and children with disabilities that play rugby. Methodology: This study adopted a mixed methods design using a concurrent triangulation approach. The ‘F-Words in Child Development’ framework was used to guide development of the data collection tools. Online questionnaires were distributed to parents and rugby club personnel nationwide. The questionnaires contained demographic questions, Likert scale ratings, and qualitative open-ended questions related to rugby participation. The parent questionnaire also contained the standardised Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP). Spearman rank order correlations were applied to rugby participation ratings and the CASP. Inductive thematic analysis was used for the qualitative responses from both questionnaires. Inductive thematic analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data from the questionnaires. Semi-structured interviews were held with three children with disabilities that play rugby. The data generated from these interviews was not included as it was deemed to be insufficient. Results: There were 39 parent questionnaire responses and 47 club personnel questionnaire responses. The parent questionnaire themes were ‘Striking the Right Balance’ and ‘Variety of Options to Match the Variety of Values’. The club personnel questionnaire themes were ‘Opportunities and Challenges of Inclusion’ and ‘Opportunities and Challenges of Development’.(iv) Discussion / Conclusion: This was the first study to examine the facilitators and barriers affecting participation for children with disabilities that play rugby. This study was also the first to apply the ‘F-Words for Child development’ framework to a community-based activity. The responses from the stakeholders demonstrated a range of factors affecting participation. Their responses highlighted important steps that need to be taken and issues that need to be addressed to ensure children with disabilities have positive participation opportunities and experiences throughout their childhood.
NUI Galway
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland