PARTICIPATION IN SPORT BY PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY
A physically active lifestyle is associated with many health and social benefits. It is widely recognised that people's engagement with their community enhances their feeling of wellbeing and forges stronger community spirit. People with disabilities may be restricted in participation in some areas of the community because of their particular activity limitation or impairment. Personal networks are particularly important in supporting the integration of people with disabilities into the wider community (Endnote 1).
This fact sheet presents information on disability and participation in sport by people with a disability. It also compares their participation rates with people with no disability and examines whether participation rates vary with sex, age and the type of disability.
WHAT IS DISABILITY?
In May 2001 the World Health Organisation's (WHO's) International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) was endorsed as the international standard for describing and measuring health and disability (Endnote 2). The ICF defines disability as an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions and takes into account various aspects of disability, including social, environmental and medical. It also provides a mechanism to document the impact of the social and physical environment on a person's functioning.
INFORMATION ON DISABILITY
This fact sheet presents data from the ABS' 2002 and 2006 General Social Surveys (GSS) which collected information on a wide range of social indicators of people aged 18 years and over resident in private dwellings. Topics included health and disability, education, employment, sports attendance and participation, and attendance at cultural venues and events.
Extensive testing by the ABS has shown that disability is a difficult and complex concept to measure. Some of the reasons include the individual's perception of disability, different cultural concepts of what constitutes disability and the sensitive nature of some conditions. The questions and concepts used in the GSS are closely aligned with the ICF, though they do not encompass the full scope of the documented concepts. The standard disability question module is designed to obtain data on the broad characteristics of the disability population, rather than obtaining detailed disability data as is collected by the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.
A disability or long-term health condition as defined in the GSS refers to a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder which has lasted or was likely to last for at least six months, and restricted everyday activities. The nature of the disability was classified into four main categories: sensory (sight, hearing and speech); physical; intellectual; psychological; and type not specified. A person's health condition may have been represented in more than one disability category.
According to the GSS, in 2006, nearly 40% (6.1 million) of Australians aged 18 years and over had a disability or long-term health problem. Physical limitations were the most common form of disability (66% or 4 million), followed by sight, hearing or speech (35% or 2.1 million). Just over half of people with a disability (3.1 million) did not specify the type of disability.
Further information can be found in the ABS publications, General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4159.0) and Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2003 (cat. no. 4430.0).
PARTICIPATION IN SPORT BY DISABILITY STATUS
For the purpose of this fact sheet, the term 'people with a disability' is used to refer to people with an existing disability or long-term health condition, and 'participation in sport' is used to refer to participation in sport and physical recreation in the 12 months prior to interview.
In 2006, people with a disability had a lower rate of participation in sport (53% or 3.2 million) compared with people with no disability (68% or 6.3 million). The participation rates were slightly higher in 2002, measuring 55% (3.1 million) and 70% (6.1 million) respectively. The number of people with a disability participating in sport increased by 84,000 from 2002 to 2006. The majority of this increase was attributable to an increase in the number of females participating in sport (81,400).
PARTICIPATION IN SPORT, By disability status and sex - 2002 and 2006
PARTICIPATION RATE (%)
|With a disability |
|With no disability |
|With a disability |
|With no disability |
|With a disability |
|With no disability |
|Source: ABS data available on request, General Social Survey, 2002 and 2006. |
A comparison of the data from 2002 to 2006 shows that the participation rate of males with a disability did not change significantly over time (57% in 2002 to 55% in 2006). Similarly, for males with no disability, participation rates did not change significantly (74% in 2002 to 69% in 2006). Female participation rates remained steady from 2002 to 2006, with just over 50% of females with a disability and 67% of females with no disability. There were no significant differences in participation between males and females with a disability in 2002 or 2006.
PARTICIPATION IN SPORT BY AGE
The participation rate for males and females by age group, shows that people with a disability had consistently lower rates of participation in sport than people with no disability across all age groups. For people with a disability, the highest level of participation in sport was in the 25 to 34 year age group for both males (68% or 240,000) and females (61% or 184,900). For people with no disability, the highest rate of participation was in the 18 to 24 year age group for both males (77% or 594,800) and females (72% or 499,400). The lowest participation rates were for people aged 65 years and over, regardless of disability status, with 42% (735,600) of people with a disability and nearly 56% (428,200) of people with no disability.
Participation in Sport by Persons with a Disability,
PARTICIPATION IN SPORT BY DISABILITY TYPE
By age and sex -
Over half of people with a sight, hearing or speech disability participated in sport (53% or 1.1 million). The participation rate was slightly lower for people with a physical disability (48% or 2.0 million) or a psychological disability (46% or 365,500). The participation rate for those with an intellectual disability was 42% (149,700). Within each type of disability, males had a higher rate of participation in sport than females. This was particularly noticeable for people with a sight, hearing or speech disability, with 57% of males compared with 47% of females.
Participation in Sport,
By disability type and sex -
For males with a sight, hearing or speech disability, the 25 to 34 year age group had the highest participation rate in sport (79%), while the 18 to 24 year age group had the lowest (45%). The 25 to 34 year age group had the highest participation rate in sport for people with a physical (61%), intellectual (70%) and psychological (54%) disability. In contrast, males aged 55 to 64 years with an intellectual disability had the lowest participation rate in sport (17%). The participation rate for males aged 55 to 64 years with no disability was 57%. Males aged 65 years and over had the lowest participation rates for people with a physical disability (39%) and a psychological disability (38%).
For females with a sight, hearing or speech disability, the 18 to 24 year age group had the highest participation rate in sport (68%). Females aged 35 to 44 years with a physical disability had a participation rate of 63% while females aged 18 to 24 years with an intellectual disability had a participation rate of 55%.
PARTICIPATION IN SPORT BY STATE OR TERRITORY
The participation rate by state or territory of usual residence shows that people with a disability had consistently lower rates of participation in sport than people with no disability across all states and territories. The states with the biggest difference in participation rates between people with a disability and people with no disability were South Australia (46% and 63% respectively) and New South Wales (49% and 65% respectively).
For people with a disability who usually reside in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), over two thirds (68% or 57,000) participated in sport. The ACT also had a high participation rate for people with no disability (79% or 127,100). For the other states and territories, high participation rates of people with a disability were also apparent in the Northern Territory (66% or 27,600) and Western Australia (63% or 378,200).
Participation in sport,
By disability status and state or territory of usual residence -
The lowest rates of participation of people with a disability occurred in South Australia (46% or 219,300) and New South Wales (49% or 940,000). These states also had the lowest level of participation of people with no disability, 63% (434,900) and 65% (2.1 million) respectively.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004, Information Paper: Measuring Social Capital - An Australian Framework and Indicators, 2004
, cat. no. 1378.0, ABS, Canberra.
2. World Health Organization (WHO) 2001, International classification of functioning, disability and health
, WHO, Geneva. Accessed 11 November 2009, <http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en
This page last updated 23 June 2010