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Dissertation: Dissertation: 11.11.2016 Sports clubs to encourage young adolescents with disabilities (Ng)


11.11.2016 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki, S212, Vanha juhlasali / Old festival hall
M.Sc. Kwok Ng defends his doctoral dissertation in Adapted Physical Activity ”Physical activity of adolescents with long term illnesses or disabilities in reference to ICF personal factors”. Opponent Professor Shayke Hutzler (Wingate Institute, Israel) and custos Professor Pauli Rintala (University of Jyväskylä).

Kwok NgM.Sc. Kwok Ng defends his doctoral dissertation in Adapted Physical Activity ”Physical activity of adolescents with long term illnesses or disabilities in reference to ICF personal factors”. Opponent Professor Shayke Hutzler (Wingate Institute, Israel) and custos Professor Pauli Rintala (University of Jyväskylä).

According to the WHO, there is a recent trend of increasing non-communicable disease throughout the word, leading to reduced functioning and disability. Participation in physical activities is an important indicator of functioning in adolescents with disabilities. Young adolescents with disabilities have varying degrees of severity and the physical activity behaviours of individuals who attend general schools with long term illnesses or disabilities needs to be studied. Furthermore, a lack of physical activities is the 4th leading cause of death.

Through the Health Behaviours in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, national representative data in Finland was pooled from the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 self-reported surveys to produce trends and patterns of physical activity levels. 17.1% of adolescents, 13 and 15 years of age, (n=2206) reported to have long term illnesses or disabilities (LTID) that was diagnosed by a medical doctor.

There has been an overall increase from 11% in 2002 to 21% in 2014 of adolescents LTID that met the physical activity recommendations for health (at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, daily). Adolescents that attended sports clubs were twice more likely to meet these recommendations. Strong intention for future physical activity was associated with increased physical activity in boys and girls. Furthermore, boys’ physical activity levels were associated with high physical activity self-perceptions. Boys’ intention for future physical activity was also mediated by global self-esteem, and this was not reported by girls. Boys who had aspirations not to general upper secondary schools were also more active.

With approximately one in six adolescents with long term illnesses or disabilities that attend general schools, and sports clubs as an environment that increases the opportunity to meet physical activity recommendations, it is important that physical educators and coach educators create an appropriate environment for inclusion principles. Policy makers and sports organisations could also take note of the results for monitoring purposes. Health practitioners gain knowledge of the important ICF personal factors that indicate increasing physical activity in adolescents with long term illnesses or disabilities.

More encouragement is needed to promote physical active lifestyles in both boys and girls with LTID. Different approaches are needed between boys and girls when taking into account the personal factors associated with PA.  Sports clubs could be one such environment that can encourage more PA to meet the current PA recommendations for health.

More information:

Kwok Ng,, tel. 045 149 9919
Communications Intern Katja Ketola,, tel. 040 805 3638 

Kwok Ng graduated as MSc Psychology of Exercise from University of Thessaly, Greece in 2010 and as MSc Sport Sciences (Sport and Exercise Psychology) from University of Jyväskylä in 2011. Previously he has worked with Sports Development in Cambrigde. Currently he is PhD Student at JYU.

The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Sport, Physical Education and Health, number 245, 99p., Jyväskylä 2016, ISSN: 0356-1070, ISBN: 978-951-39-6746-8 (printed), ISBN: 978-951-39-6747-5 (PDF). It is available at the University Library’s Publications Unit, tel. +358 (0)40 805 3825,


Participation and activities are important for adolescents’ functioning and health. This is in line with the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Main areas of functioning include physical activities (PA) and participation in organised sport clubs. To ensure adolescents with long term illnesses or disabilities (LTID) can participate fully in society, functional abilities interact with contextual environmental and personal factors. Because habits and attitudes of adolescents can carry through to adulthood, it is important to assess the personal factors in relation to activities and participation. Therefore, the aims of this study were to describe PA trends and to determine the associations between physical activity and the ICF personal factors in adolescents with LTID.

Finnish data, from a national representative sample from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, of 13 and 15 year olds in 2002 (n=3016), 2006 (n=2979), 2010 (n=3578), and 2014 (n=3250) were used in this study. With all data collections combined, 17% (n=2206, mean age=14.8 years, 55% girls) had self-reported LTID. When possible, descriptions of functional difficulties were included in analyses. All studies used the same HBSC protocol across the different data collection years with analysis of items that measured PA, sports club participation, psychological assets related to PA and educational aspirations. Descriptive statistics, mediation regression and binary logistic regression models were used to identify and report associations between PA and personal factors. Trend analysis was also performed.

Younger (13 year old) boys were the most physically active and older (15 year old) girls the least. Moreover, there has been an increase from 11% to 21% of adolescents that reported daily PA from 2002 to 2014, with a twice likelihood from sports club members. Intentions for future PA was strongly associated with increased PA in both boys and girls. Furthermore, boys with high PA self-perceptions and aspirations not to general upper secondary schools were associated with daily PA. Global self-esteem was reported to be a significant mediator between perceived fitness and intentions for future PA in boys but this relationship was not found in girls.

The results of this study connect with previous studies in that there are similar trends in PA in adolescents with and without LTID. It is important to take into account sports club membership when reporting amounts of physical activity of adolescents with LTID. There is almost one in six adolescents with LTID in general schools and realising this may influence the implementing of guides for inclusion in sport clubs at various levels. Finally, as PA are recommended to be part of daily routines, finding commonalities in personal factors can assist with future classifications of functioning, disability and health of adolescents with LTID.

Keywords: HBSC, ICF, intention, self-esteem, self-concept, organizational affiliation

More information

Kwok Ng