Psychosocial effects of competitive boccia program in persons with severe chronic disability

Sharon Barak, Nuria Mendoza-Laiz, Maria Teresa Gutiérrez Fuentes, Maria Rubiera, Yeshayahu Hutzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People with severe physical disabilities may experience psychosocial problems. Boccia is one sport that athletes with severe disability can engage in, but no information on the effects of Boccia on psychosocial outcomes for participants with severe disability is available. Therefore, we analyzed the effects of Boccia on psychosocial outcomes in persons with severe disabilities. The study included two competitive Boccia groups: independent competitive (IC) (n = 9) and nonindependent competitive (NIC) (n = 7), as well as a recreational Boccia group (n = 14) and control subjects (n = 13) (mean age for all participants = 46.46 +/- 10.75 yr). All participants underwent a rehabilitation program. Between-group differences in change scores were assessed using analysis of variance/multivariate analysis of variance. Within-group differences were compared using t-tests and effect sizes (ESs). Change in psychosocial parameters was not significantly influenced by study group (p > 0.05). All groups presented moder­ate-to-large ESs in physical and psychological quality of life (ES > 0.51). In comparison to the control group, who presented small-to-trivial ESs in General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Profile of Mood States-Tension, the IC and recreational group presented moderate ESs in GHQ-28, whereas the NIC group presented moderate ESs in anxiety and tension. In conclusion, the rehabilitation program had a general positive effect on the psychosocial status of individuals with severe physical disabilities. However, the competitive Boccia groups demonstrated a greater number of favorable changes, sug­gesting an added value of participation in Boccia.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)973-988
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Boccia
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Exercise
  • Physical activity
  • Physical disability
  • Physical training
  • Psychological adaptation
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Self-efficacy
  • Severe physical disability
  • Sports

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation


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