Publication: Activity Involvement & Spiritual Health in Children with ADHD and Learning Disabilities

Impact Summary: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities (LDs) represent two of the most prevalent disabilities experienced by adolescents. Moreover, spiritual health is recognized as an important health domain, with a direct relationship to quality of life. Therefore, this paper explores the differences in spiritual health among adolescents with ADHD, LDs, and the interaction between disabilities and sport and non-sport activities. Data from the 2014 (Canadian cycle 7) Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study (n = 17,407, Mage = 14.08 years, SD = 1.46 years) were analysed. Adolescents who report exceptionalities that involve ADHD or LDs are at risk for lower levels of spiritual health; however, involvement in sports and other types of activities offers some protection to these groups. Indeed, when young people with ADHD or LDs are involved in a diversity of activities including both sports and other activities, their risks of having low spiritual health compared with their peers with no such exceptionalities is almost entirely mitigated. Therefore, the evidence from this study suggests the need for participation in both sport and non-sport activities outside of school. From a health promotion perspective, there are many more opportunities that can be offered to PE teachers and sport coaches. Sport coaches can to go into environments that are not typically considered as sports, such as scouts and youth clubs, to encourage and train leaders to provide unstructured physical activities. Two-way learning is also possible, whereby coaches can learn more about ways to keep children into activities that are beneficial for health, including spiritual health.

Ng Kwok, Pickett, W., Michaelson, V., Freeman, J.  2018.  Activity Involvement and Spiritual Health in Children with ADHD and Learning Disabilities.  Journal of Disability & Religion, pp 1-19. 

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