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Para athletes’ perceptions of abuse: a qualitative study across three lower resourced countries
  1. Emily Anne Rutland1,
  2. Sakinah C Suttiratana2,
  3. Sheila da Silva Vieira3,
  4. Rekha Janarthanan3,
  5. Michael Amick4,
  6. Yetsa A Tuakli-Wosornu2,5
  1. 1Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale University School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  3. 3Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
  4. 4Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  5. 5Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yetsa A Tuakli-Wosornu, Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale University School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; yetsa.tuakli-wosornu{at}yale.edu

Abstract

Objectives Interpersonal violence is an increasingly recognised risk of sport participation and causally linked to negative physical and mental health outcomes. Para athletes from low- and middle-income countries may be at highest risk of physical, psychological, sexual and neglect-related violence due to various factors; however, their perceptions of these abusive behaviours are unknown. This study examined the perceptions and experiences of abuse in para athletes from three lower resourced countries: Ghana, India and Brazil.

Methods Qualitative data from semistructured focus group interviews conducted with 26 individuals were collected to explore characteristics of abuse observed, navigated and experienced by para athletes. The framework method for multidisciplinary qualitative research guided data analysis.

Results Athletes identified a wide range of abusive behaviours they experienced within and outside of sport, including psychological, emotional, physical, sexual and neglect-related violence, which operated on both interpersonal and systemic levels. Most athletes described three less easily recognised forms of abuse in greater detail and more frequently than others: financial abuse, neglect and disability stigma.

Conclusion It is important to hear directly from athletes with diverse experiences and backgrounds and to integrate their insights and priorities into sport safeguarding policies, programmes and interventions. Understanding the requirements and challenges of para athletes and para sport is needed to achieve safe, equitable and inclusive sport. As new insights from diverse sport settings are added to the evidence base, globally balanced, athlete-generated and locally relevant preventative strategies can better protect all athletes.

  • sports
  • disability
  • paralympic
  • interpersonal violence
  • sexual abuse

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available, stored as encrypted audio files with all authors.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available, stored as encrypted audio files with all authors.

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @YetsaTuakli

  • Contributors Study concept, design and management: YAT-W, SS, BC and SB. Data Collection: YAT-W, SdSV and RJ. Data analysis, data review and interpretation and manuscript writing: all authors. Author acting as guarantor: YAT-W.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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