A mixed method study of leisure participation, barriers and supports among a sample of independently living adults with intellectual disabilities

Eilen de Paor

Reported: Thesis – Master of Science in Developmental Disabilities

Keywords: Intellectual Disabilities • Leisure Participation • Supports • Independent Living

(30 Jul 2009)

The present study utilises a mixed approach to explore the leisure participation patterns in a sample of ten adults with intellectual disabilities who lived independently. The factors that participants received to act as barriers and support to their engagement in preferred leisure activities were also explored. The quantitative interview component of the methodology utilised a modified version of the TRAIL Leisure Assessment Battery (Dattilo & Hoge, 1997) and the qualitative interview consisted of questions devised for this study by the researcher. In order to ensure informed consent and optimal participation by respondents, a continual consent process was designed and employed throughout the research process.

Integrated findings of the quantitative and qualitative portions of the study were related to the existing body of leisure research literature. Overall, study findings agreed with the existing previous leisure experiences among the sample. Participants’ interest in engaging in new and previously enjoyed leisure activities were found to b high, and individuals were found to identify a wide range of factors that they perceived to act as potential barriers and supports to their leisure participation. The factors most frequently identified by participants as obstacles to leisure were limited knowledge of how and where to do activities, limited availability of and access to opportunities for leisure and limited availability of the assistance and company required for some activities. Staff and family members were found to be the key providers of supports that enabled individuals to engage in desired activities. The various theoretical, practical and research implications of the findings were discussed.

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