Exploring Narratives of Quality Participation Among Adults with Physical Disabilities in a Community-based Exercise Program: A Mixed Methods, Collective Case Study Approach
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Previous explorations of quality participation in physical activity opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWD) have yet to address whether one’s perception of quality participation can change over time. Using triangulation within a mixed methods approach, this study sought to explore the participatory experiences of PWD in a community-based exercise program. Over one year, five individuals completed a baseline interview grounded in a life course approach, and subsequent interviews at 4-, 8-, and 12-months. Participants also completed questionnaires at baseline, 4-, 8-, and 12-months to quantitatively elicit their perceptions of quality participation. Situated within social constructionism, (a) dialogical and structural narrative analysis of interviews were conducted; (b) the mean scores from the quantitative measures were ‘qualitized’, and (c) holistic profiling took place to explore similarities and differences between the two types of data, on a case-by-case basis. Five distinct narrative types represented the progression of quality participation over time, with each case drawing upon existing discourse and socioultural narratives of disability (i.e., tragedy and dependence), and participation in society (i.e., quest, restitution). The findings illustrate the immediate and latent psychosocial, emotional, and physical complexities that accompany participation in a community-based exercise program for PWD. These unique, temporally-nuanced understandings of quality participation offer insight into the highly contextualized nature of how PWD might achieve full and effective participation, and may be used to inform the development and delivery of optimal community-based exercise programming.