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4156.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Sport, July 2012  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/07/2012   
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PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION BY PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY


INTRODUCTION

Well over half of the Australian population participate in sport and physical recreation activities (ABS 2011b), and with good reason. Being active is good for you in so many ways. It can provide a huge range of fun experiences, make you feel good, improve your health, and is a great way to relax and enjoy the company of your friends. Regular physical activity can help prevent heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and some cancers, help build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints reducing the risk of injury, and promote psychological wellbeing (Department of Health and Ageing 2012). Many people participate in sport to enhance a healthy lifestyle and for the social opportunities it provides.

People with a disability are just as keen to participate even though they may experience constraints (Australian Sports Commission 2012). This article presents information on people with a disability and their participation in sport and physical recreation activities. It compares participation rates with people who have no disability and examines the influence of sex, age, area of usual residence, type and condition of disability.

Data is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2010 General Social Survey (GSS) which collected information on a wide range of social indicators of people aged 18 years and over resident in private dwellings. For more detailed information refer to the Explanatory Notes in General Social Survey: Summary of Results, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0) (ABS 2010a). A detailed list of all data items collected is also available from the 2010 General Social Survey: User Guide, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0.55.002) (ABS 2010b). Data in this article is from the 2010 GSS only and any differences highlighted are statistically significant unless otherwise noted.


DEFINITION OF DISABILITY

Disability can be a difficult concept to measure due to an individual’s perception of disability, different cultural concepts on what constitutes disability and the sensitive nature of some conditions (e.g. learning disabilities). The standard disability question module in the GSS is designed to obtain broad characteristics of people with a disability.

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 is likely to last for at least six months. The type of disability was classified into five main categories:

  • sight, hearing and speech
  • physical
  • intellectual
  • psychological
  • type not specified.

The condition of a disability was further categorised by their highest level of limitation:
  • profound (always needs help/supervision with core activities)
  • severe (does not always need help with core activities)
  • moderate (has difficulty with core activities)
  • mild (uses aids to assist with core activities)
  • schooling or employment restriction (no core activity limitation, aged 18-20 years and have difficulties with education, or are less than 65 years and have difficulties with employment)
  • no specific restriction.

According to the 2010 survey, 6.8 million people (40%) of the Australian population aged 18 years and over reported having a disability or long term health condition. The proportion of males and females with a disability were the same (50%).


PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES

‘Participation in sport and physical recreation activities’ refers to participation in sport and physical recreation activities in the 12 months prior to interview. Participation in sport and physical recreation activities includes those who participated as a player and/or those involved in a non-playing role, such as a referee, umpire or administrator.


Sex

In 2010, 68% of people with a disability (4.6 million) participated in sport, lower than the 79% of people without a disability (7.9 million). Both males and females with a disability had lower participation rates (68% and 67% respectively) than those without a disability (82% and 76%).

PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES, By sex - 2010

With a disability
Without a disability
Participated
Did not participate
Total
Participated
Did not participate
Total

Number (000's)

Males
2 306.0
1 077.6
3 383.5
3 994.6
903.7
4 898.3
Females
2 279.0
1 108.6
3 387.6
3 879.1
1 239.5
5 118.7
Persons
4 585.0
2 186.2
6 771.2
7 873.7
2 143.3
10 017.0

Participation Rate (%)

Males
68.2
31.8
100.0
81.6
18.4
100.0
Females
67.3
32.7
100.0
75.8
24.2
100.0
Persons
67.7
32.3
100.0
78.6
21.4
100.0




Age

While participation rates for all people varied slightly between age groups, there is a general decline in participation as people get older.

The data shows no significant difference in participation for the younger age groups (less than 45 years of age) of both the disabled and non-disabled population. For people with a disability, there was a significant drop in participation (9 percentage points) between the age of 45-54 and 55-64 years. People aged 45-54 years and 55-64 years of age with a disability showed lower participation rates (71% and 62% respectively) than people in the same age groups who reported no disability (80% and 76%).

PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES, By age - 2010

With a disability
No disability
Participated
Did not participate
Total
Participated
Did not participate
Total

Number (000's)

Age groups (years)
18-24
350.7
67.6
418.3
1 400.8
372.2
1 773.1
25-34
599.6
182.8
782.4
1 899.4
463.1
2 362.5
35-44
769.9
232.9
1 002.8
1 713.2
403.4
2 116.6
45-54
875.3
353.6
1 228.9
1 423.1
352.4
1 775.5
55-64
816.9
503.1
1 320.0
906.5
288.4
1 194.9
65 and over
1 172.6
846.1
2 018.7
530.7
263.8
794.5
Total
4 585.0
2 186.2
6 771.2
7 873.7
2 143.3
10 017.0

Participation rate (%)

Age groups (years)
18-24
83.8
16.2
100.0
79.0
21.0
100.0
25-34
76.6
23.4
100.0
80.4
19.6
100.0
35-44
76.8
23.2
100.0
80.9
19.1
100.0
45-54
71.2
28.8
100.0
80.2
19.8
100.0
55-64
61.9
38.1
100.0
75.9
24.1
100.0
65 and over
58.1
41.9
100.0
66.8
33.2
100.0
Total
67.7
32.3
100.0
78.6
21.4
100.0




Area of Usual Residence

Participation rates for people with a disability by state or territory of usual residence were consistently lower than for those people without a disability. The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest participation rate compared with all other states and territories, 78% of people with a disability and 90% without a disability participating.

PARTICIPATION RATE IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES, By state or territory of usual residence - 2010
Graph: PARTICIPATION RATE IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES, By state or territory of usual residence—2010


For people with a disability, comparable participation rates were reported between capital cities and balance of state regions in all states and territories, except for the Northern Territory (NT). For more information on the definition of 'Capital city' and 'Balance of state' please refer to the Statistical Region Structure (SRS) which is part of the ABS (2011a) Australian Standard Geographic Classification, July 2011 (cat. no. 1216.0).

The participation rate in Darwin capital city (78%) was significantly higher than in the balance of the NT (50%) for people with a disability. Balance of the NT also had the lowest participation rate for those with a disability compared with all other capital cities and balance of state areas in other states and territories.


DISABILITY TYPE

There were no significant differences between participation rates across disability types, except for those people with an intellectual or head injury (including stroke or brain damage). People with these disability types had lower participation rates of 55% and 53% respectively. Just under half (49%) of males with an intellectual disability and over half (58%) with a head injury, stroke or brain damage participated in sport and physical recreation activities. Females reported participation rates of 63% for those with an intellectual disability and 45% for those with a disability associated with a head injury, stroke or brain damage.

PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES, By disability type by sex - 2010
Graph: PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES, By disability type by sex—2010



DISABILITY CONDITION

People with a disability that had no specific restriction had the highest participation rate of 73%, compared with almost all other disability conditions. The exception was for those with a schooling or employment restriction (72%). More than six in every ten people with a mild (61%) or moderate (65%) restriction associated with their disability participated in sport and physical recreation activities. The data shows a significant difference in participation for people experiencing a profound or severe restriction, with the lowest participation rates of 42% and 45% respectively.

PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES, By disability condition by sex - 2010
Graph: PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES, By disability condition by sex—2010



SUMMARY

Compared with the whole population people with a disability participate less than those without a disability. However, overall the data shows that over two thirds of people with a disability participated in sport and physical recreation activities in the 12 months prior to interview. These results are an encouraging sign that the majority of people with a disability are active.


REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2010a, 'General Social Survey: Summary of Results, Australia', 2010, cat. no. 4159.0, ABS, Canberra.

ABS, 2010b, 'General Social Survey: User Guide, Australia', 2010, cat. no. 4159.0.55.002, ABS, Canberra.

ABS, 2011a, "Australian Standard Geographic Classification', 2011, cat. no. 1216.0, ABS, Canberra.

ABS, 2011b, 'Sports and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia', 2011, cat. no. 4156.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Sports Commission, 2012, 'Getting involved in sport: Participation and non-participation of people with disability in sport and active recreation', Australian Sports Commission, accessed 30 April 2012, <http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/disability/resources/research_and_reports/disability_participation_research>.

Department of Health and Ageing 2010, 'Physical Activity: Great reasons to be active', accessed 9 May 2012, <http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines>.



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