Date of Award

8-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Cory, Lynne

Committee Member

McGuire, Fran

Committee Member

Baldwin, Betty

Abstract

The United States has approximately 1.7 million people living with limb loss. The majority of studies focus on general disability related to limb loss rather than specifically focusing on women with amputations. Women amputees can experience difficulty in accepting the disability, which in turn may lead to decreases in life satisfaction. Often women amputees may experience varying levels of depression, negative perception of body image, as well as decreased self-confidence and decreased sense of self-efficacy. The researcher used a phenomenological lens to examine transformative experiences of women amputees who participate in paratriathlons, specifically focusing on participants lived experiences related to (a) athletic history prior to the amputation, (b) participation in a paratriathlon training camp, and (c) the generalization of lessons learned at the camp to other contexts of their lives. Results indicated participation in the paratriathlon training camp and the sprint triathlon increased self-efficacy, improved negative perception of body image, and increased self-confidence. Future research may include examining the lived experience of men with amputations to better understand similarities and/or differences between genders and effects of physical disability. Implications of this study on therapeutic recreation practice include incorporating paratriathlons as a potential facilitation technique, as well as a leisure education topic and ongoing activity for recreation participation.

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