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Research Article  |   January 1996
The Meaning of Sea Kayaking for Persons With Spinal Cord Injuries
Author Affiliations
  • Leah Peri Siegel Taylor, MS, OTR, is Occupational Therapist, Medical Center Delaware, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Juli Evans McGruder, PhC, MSEd, OTR, The University of Puget Sound, School of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, 1500 North Warner, Tacoma, Washington 98416–0510
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Spinal Cord Injury / Research
Research Article   |   January 1996
The Meaning of Sea Kayaking for Persons With Spinal Cord Injuries
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 1996, Vol. 50, 39-46. doi:10.5014/ajot.50.1.39
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 1996, Vol. 50, 39-46. doi:10.5014/ajot.50.1.39
Abstract

Objectives. Research has described benefits of physical, athletic, and avocational activity on improving self-esteem, quality of life, and locus of control in persons with disabilities. The objective of this study was to identify meaningful components of the experience of sea kayaking as described by persons with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Method. Three subjects with SCI who had participated in recreational kayaking were interviewed. Qualitative research methods included strategies from Guba’s model for rigor in qualitative research, Spradley’s interviewing guidelines, and Good’s method of semantic network analysis. Three interviews of approximately 45 min in length were conducted with each subject. Initial interviews began with a single question: “Tell me about sea kayaking.” Subsequent questions contained only concepts and terms used in the subjects’ responses.

Results. The subjects valued the novelty, challenge, safety, sociability, and natural environment aspects of sea kayaking. Perceptions of the self as able in the eyes of others and the need for support in pursuit of outdoor leisure activities were themes that figured prominently in the subjects’ discourse.

Conclusion. Subjects’ comments indicate that meaningful time use and the construction of an identity after injury are linked. This link has also been suggested in the rehabilitation literature. This information suggests the use of therapeutic intervention that supports a person’s adjustment to an irreversible SCI.