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Research Article  |   July 2007
Boys With Developmental Coordination Disorder: Loneliness and Team Sports Participation
Author Affiliations
  • Anne A. Poulsen, BOccThy(Hons), PhD, is Senior Research Officer, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4072, Queensland, Australia; a.poulsen@uq.edu.au
  • Jenny M. Ziviani, DipOcThy, BApplSci (OccThy), BA, MedSci, PhD, is Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane
  • Monica Cuskelly, BA(Hons), GradDipEd, MEdStud, MAppPsych, PhD, is Senior Lecturer, School of Education, The University of Queensland, Brisbane
  • Rachel Smith, BOccThy(Hons), is Clinical Occupational Therapist, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   July 2007
Boys With Developmental Coordination Disorder: Loneliness and Team Sports Participation
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2007, Vol. 61, 451-462. doi:10.5014/ajot.61.4.451
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2007, Vol. 61, 451-462. doi:10.5014/ajot.61.4.451
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This study investigated the mediational role of team sports and other leisure occupations for boys ages 10 to 13 years in the relationship between physical coordination ability and perceptions of loneliness.

METHOD. Sixty boys with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and 113 comparison boys without DCD completed a self-report measure of loneliness. Parents recorded information on leisure involvement over 7 days.

RESULTS. Boys with DCD recorded significantly higher loneliness and lower participation rates in all group physical activities, whether structured (e.g., team sports) or unstructured (e.g., informal outdoor play) than boys without DCD. An inverse relationship between physical coordination ability and loneliness was mediated by participation in team sports. No other leisure pursuits were found to be significant mediators. Childhood physical coordination difficulties were significantly associated with loneliness.

CONCLUSION. Participation in team sports acted as one potential mechanism mediating the inverse relationship between physical coordination ability and loneliness in boys. Occupational therapists can act as advocates to support boys with DCD who choose to participate in team sports. Further investigations are recommended to determine aspects of team sports environments that promote an optimal fit among child, activity, and environment.