Getting involved in sport: Participation and non-participation of people with disability in sport and active recreation

The Australian Sports Commission in conjunction with the University of Technology, Sydney conducted a research project investigating the ‘Getting involved in sport: Participation and non-participation of people with disability in sport and active recreation'. The aim was to provide an evidenced based position to inform government, sport, and the disability sector of the factors that influence the participation of people with disabilities in sport and active recreation.

The study focused on two targeted populations:

  • People with disability – end users of sport and active recreation opportunities (through seeking to understand the current patterns of participation and non-participation)
  • Disability service providers - those people working directly with persons with disability but not in sporting or disability-specific sporting organisations. This population represents a range of organisations - large and small, government and not-for-profit - that provide a wide range of services across the disability sector spectrum

Key findings include:

  • All groups regarded social and cultural benefits as the most important benefits derived from their participation in sport and active recreation
  • Although there are a number of constraints affecting the participation of people with disability, individuals did not regard their impairment as the major reason for their non-participation
  • Nearly 75% of those currently participating would like to participate more than they are
  • Those who participate on a regular basis identified a series of constraints to their participation
  • Non-participants from all disability types want to participate in sport and active recreation, and realise that they are missing out on a very important part of life and Australian culture
  • It is essential to provide easily accessible information on local sport and active recreation opportunities
  • Cost is seen to be a major factor in many different ways, including its effect on transport, equipment registration fees, cost to the organisation (support) and extra costs associated with disability
  • Lack of support by the government was identified as the single greatest constraint faced by people with disability (this may not be specifically related to sport and recreation)
  • The research very strongly supports the literature showing that those people who are engaged in social activities and citizenship generally are much more likely to be connected to community and experience a better level of quality of life than those not engaged

For full details and reports please download full report.

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