Sand in the Shorts: Experiences of Moral Discomfort in Adapted Physical Activity Practice

  • Author / Creator
    Ebert, Amanda
  • In many disciplines, professionals are encouraged to be reflexive about their practice. Adapted physical activity (APA) is no exception, yet little research has been done to explore the lived experiences of service delivery professionals who create movement experiences for individuals living with impairment. Within a professional knowledge landscape, the information that defines our discipline and scope of practice is driven by theory or ideological views (the sacred story). What we learn through applied professional experiences (our secret story) may collide with professional information, leaving professionals with moral discomfort as they are unsure how to solve problems and react to social relational dilemmas. The purpose of this study was to explore how APA professionals experience and resolve moral discomfort within professional practice. Using the research approach of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), one-on-one semi-structured audio recorded interviews were conducted with seven APA professionals. The conceptual framework of relational ethics was utilized to facilitate deep engagements with their lived experiences as they navigated the day-to-day ethical minefields of professional practice. A six-step inductive analysis was completed that reflected the ideographic, hermeneutic, and phenomenological underpinnings of IPA. Four themes developed from the analysis: (a) The Ass(et) of Vulnerability (b) Friends or Friendly? (c) “We’re Fucked Either Way” and, (d) Now What? Grappling with Discomfort. Emphasizing relational ethics may invite new ways of thinking about our practice – ways that increase joy, decrease stress, and bring attention to the potentially disabling policies and practices that may be doing harm to the disability community. By acknowledging feelings of moral discomfort, we may bring attention to the hard questions we often avoid.

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  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
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