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"Getting together to play football" A participatory action research study with the Positive Mental Attitude Sports Academy

Pettican, Anna Rachel (2019) "Getting together to play football" A participatory action research study with the Positive Mental Attitude Sports Academy. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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People with experience of mental distress have been identified as being less likely to participate in sport, in comparison to people in other groups characterised by an ongoing health or disability issue. Meanwhile, discourses about the positive effects of engaging in sport and physical activity dominate sport and health policy. Furthermore, there have been calls for alternative approaches to conventional mental health treatment, such as sport and physical activity, to be researched. Understanding how such participation might be best organised, to maximise engagement and the associated benefits, is currently poorly understood. This thesis is concerned with a collaborative study with the Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) Sports Academy, a community project that utilised football as a therapeutic tool to enable people with experience of mental distress to participate and achieve positive change. The study addressed the question: What is the nature and value of participation in the PMA Sports Academy from the perspectives of those that take part? A participatory action research methodology was utilised. The methods of data collection were collaborative and culturally in tune with participants’ lives and values. Three World Café events involving 23 participants, and walking interviews involving nine participants, took place around the places and spaces associated with taking part in the PMA. Participants contributed to the data analysis. The main findings related to the complex nature and value of participation; the dark-side of participation; the importance of place and space; and the transformational potential of participation. The study extends understanding about how community projects might organise participation in sport for people with experience of mental distress, to maximise the benefits derived. This needs to include an appreciation of the need to manage tensions around inclusion and competition. The thesis also highlights the importance of researching with community projects to explore the experiences of marginalised groups.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sport
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental Health
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Anna Pettican
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2019 12:30
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 12:30

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