Effect of adaptive sports on quality of life in individuals with disabilities who use wheelchairs: a mixed-methods systematic review

Panpan Chen, Hongjun Yu, Cheng Feng Lin, Jiaqi Guo, Jeannette Elliott, Adam Bleakney, Yih Kuen Jan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Adaptive sports participation has been shown to improve quality of life (QoL) in individual with disabilities. However, inconsistent results in various domains of QoL exist in the literature. The objective of this mixed-methods systematic review is to identify and synthesize evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies on the effect of adaptive sports on QoL in individuals with disabilities who use wheelchairs for mobility.

METHODS: A systematic literature review of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research on the effect of adaptive sports on QoL was conducted on five databases (Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Medline, and PubMed). Quality appraisal was conducted by two authors by using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.

RESULTS: This review identified 4 key findings from 41 studies, including 31 quantitative and 10 qualitative studies. First, individuals with disabilities using wheelchairs for mobility who actively engaged in adaptive sports tend to report higher QoL scores compared with those who were inactive or did not participate. Second, the relationship between the duration of regular participation in adaptive sports and QoL scores exhibited inconsistent results. Third, a multi-component adaptive sports program demonstrates the potential to further improve QoL scores. Last, qualitative investigations reveal that participation in adaptive sports positively influences various domains of well-being in wheelchair users, including encompassing physical and emotional well-being, interpersonal relationships, material well-being, personal development, self-determination, and social inclusion.

CONCLUSION: This review provides a comprehensive relationship between adaptive sports participation and QoL of wheelchair users. This study identifies the value of multi-component interventions and demonstrates the diverse positive influences of adaptive sports on well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
StateE-pub ahead of print - Feb 8 2024


  • Adaptive sports
  • mixed-methods
  • quality of life
  • wheelchair users

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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