Effect of martial arts practice on global self-esteem in people with visual impairment and the associated mechanisms and strategies
Qasim, Samir H.
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The effect of exercise programmes on psychosocial characteristics, namely self-esteem, of people with visual impairment (VI) is limited. Martial arts practice has been found to improve global self-esteem among different age groups and among people with different abilities, but not for people with VI. This presents a notable gap in the research literature on people with VI. This thesis conducted three studies with the aim of investigating whether martial arts practice improves self-esteem in people with VI, including martial arts mechanisms and strategies for self-esteem improvement. Study one (n = 5) investigated the effect of a martial arts (karate) 10-week programme on the exercise and self-esteem model components (EXSEM) in young adults with VI (age range 19-40 years) following a non-concurrent multiple baseline approach. Visual inspection and graphical approach analysis showed that four participants improved their global self-esteem. Physical self-worth improved for all five participants. Exercise self-efficacy was improved in three participants whereas the other two had high exercise self-efficacy before participation in the karate programme. Exercise self-efficacy and physical self-worth maintained higher scores than the baseline for all five participants for 3 months upon completing the programme. The 3-month follow up results of global self-esteem were lower than the baseline scores for two participants whereas the other three participants achieved higher global self-esteem scores than the baseline scores. Study 2 (n = 12) aimed to identify the mechanisms for self-esteem improvement from the perspective of martial artists with VI following a narrative approach. Results identified two main factors that contributed in the improvement of self-esteem found in this group. Firstly, social self-esteem impacted global self-esteem as instructors unconditionally accepted the martial artists with VI, motivated them and created relationships based on trust. In addition, participants reported that team work in the dojo, trustful relationships among martial arts peers, and feeling respected impacted their social self-esteem. The resultant was improved global self-esteem of the martial artists with VI. The second factor identified showed that global self-esteem improvement was related to intellectual self-esteem, as the martial artists increased their self-achievement awareness and body and spatial awareness and thus helped martial artists in achieving their maximal potential. Study 3 (n = 6) aimed to provide strategies that martial arts instructors utilize to improve self-esteem of their students with VI using an interpretative phenomenological approach (IPA). Participants reported that the first step for global self-esteem improvement of martial artist with VI was social inclusion which needed to be rooted in a personal perception about the abilities of individuals with VI. Most of the strategies that were utilized by the instructors were focused either on social relationships, for example peer tutoring, or martial arts philosophy such as teaching real situations. Furthermore, instructors reported that improvement of the other cognitive and psychological characteristics, namely body awareness and self-confidence improvement, positively affected global self-esteem of individuals with VI. Supporting the multidimensional hierarchical construct of self-esteem, this thesis reports a positive influence of martial arts styles on social self-esteem, physical self-worth, intellectual self-esteem, and consequently global self-esteem in people with VI. Therefore, it is recommended that instructors focus on these three domains to improve global self-esteem of people with VI.