ATHLETIC IDENTITY AND SELF-ESTEEM IN FLEMISH ATHLETES WITH A DISABILITY

Peter Van de Vliet, Debbie Van Biesen, Yves C. Vanlandewijck

Abstract


The aim of this study is to investigate athletic identity, self-esteem and physical self-perceptions
in Flemish athletes with a disability, to investigate the mutual relationships between those variables,
and to evaluate their stability over time. Flemish athletes (Paralympic level, n = 23; Non-
Paralympic Elite level, n = 37) filled out questionnaires 11 months before the Paralympic Games
(PG), 3 months before the PG, and immediately afterwards. Participants in both groups report
strong levels of athletic identity, comparable to profiles in able-bodied sportive individuals. Similar
findings are reported for global self-esteem and physical self-perceptions. With exception of
physical confidence, no relationship was found between athletic identity and (physical) selfperceptions.
Both athletic identity and (physical) self-perceptions are stable constructs over time.
Flemish athletes with disabilities possess a strong athletic identity and subsequent selfperceptions,
in which they identify themselves with being real athletes. This athletic identity is
imbedded in a broad self-concept approach, largely independent from performances.

Keywords


Athletic Identity; Disability Sport; Paralympics; Self-esteem; Physical Self-perceptions.

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