I act, therefore I am: Athletic identity and the health action process approach predict sport participation among individuals with acquired physical disabilities

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Objective:The study had two objectives 1) to test the fit of the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA) model for sport participation among individuals with acquired physical disabilities and 2) to estimate the extent to which athletic identity predicts intentions to engage in sport within the context of HAPA.Design:Prospective cohort of 82 women and 19 men with acquired permanent disabilities (Mage = 44.0; Myears post-injury = 16.2; %in sport = 61.7%).Method:All HAPA indicators and athletic identity were assessed at baseline and sport participation was assessed using the Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire for People with Spinal Cord Injury two weeks later. Structural equation modelling was used to test the HAPA model.Results:The HAPA constructs explained 15% of the variance in sport participation and 18% of the variance when athletic identity was added to the model. Instrumental (β = .21), affective (β = .15), and negative outcome expectancies (β = −.20) were significant predictors of intentions to participate in sport, as was athletic identity (β = .25). Intentions to participate in sport significantly predicted planning (β = .54) yet there was no direct relationship between planning and sport participation (β = −.008; p > .05). When the relationship between planning and maintenance self-efficacy was reversed, planning had a significant indirect effect on sport participation through maintenance self-efficacy (β = .33).Conclusion:The HAPA model is a good predictive model for sport participation among those with acquired physical disabilities; furthermore, athletic identity accounts for additional variance in sport participation. These constructs can be valuable components of sport promotion programs for this population.

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