Psychosociology of Disability

Academic year
Subject Area
Special Educational Needs - Adapted Physical Activity
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
3rd Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Not applicable.

Teaching Methods

Method based on face-to-face exposition, a practical component related with problem solving and specific use of data analysis software as well as  complementary learning based on reading articles.

During the practical classes students will be encouraged to participate in research tasks in pairs or in groups, oral presentation of ideas as well as to interact with the different actors in the teaching-learning process. Students are encouraged to read articles and book chapters summarized a minimum of 12 articles in English (12x4 hours) and 5 articles in Portuguese (5x2 hours). It is assumed that an article in English requires 4 hours of reading and an article in Portuguese two hours.

Learning Outcomes

[1] Understanding disability in the context of contemporary society and the importance of the body as a central element of social relations and the construction of individual identity
[2] Understanding the psychological mechanisms associated with the development of personality in people with disabilities

[3]Understanding and criticizing the policies and organizations in sports and education system that  work-oriented to recreational physical activity, sport, tourism as well as motor, psychological and social rehabilitation;

[4]Understand the problem of physical inactivity in contemporary society, the main risk factors in terms of health and well-being and the main policies against sedentary lifestyle;

[5]Know the fundamentals that support the total integration policies of citizens with special needs in different educational, professional and socio-cultural settings.

Work Placement(s)



Module 1 - Disability and Society - [1]The body and its importance in sociological terms, [2]The constructionist view of the body and its importance in today's society, [3]The body and the construction of individual identity, [4]Acquiring the lifelong disability: The issue of stigma and social identity.

Module 2 - Psychology of Exercise and Health Special Groups - [1]Mental illness and psychological well-being in the general population, [2]The main mechanisms associated with changes in mental health, [3] Evidence of the importance of exercise in promoting mental health [4]Disability and mental health [5]Adapted sports, exercise and mental health.

Module 3 - Sports, Physical Activity and Inclusive Education - [1]The value of sport and exercise for health and well-being of people with SEN, their relation to the development of healthy lifestyles; [2]Benefits of exercise and regular physical activity practice in special groups, [3]Segregated adapted sports versus integrated disability sports: the concept of inclusive sport and reverse inclusion.

Head Lecturer(s)

José Pedro Leitão Ferreira

Assessment Methods

Research work: 100.0%


[1] Priestley, M. (2003). Disability: A life course approach. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[2]Barnes, C., Oliver, M., & Barton, L. (2002). Disability studies today. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[3] Oliver, M, & Barnes, C. (1998). Disabled people and social policy: From exclusion to inclusion. London: Longman social policy series.

[4] Oliver, M. (1996). Understanding disability: From theory to practice. London: Macmillan Press Ltd.

[5] Barton, L. (1996). Disability & Society: Emerging issues and insights. London: Longman sociology series

[6] Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. London: Penguin Books;

[7] Fox, K.R. (1997). The Physical self: From motivation to well-being. Human Kinetics;

[8] Buckworth, J, & Dishman, R.K. (2002). Exercise Psychology. Human Kinetics;

[9] Biddle, S.J.H., & Mutrie, N. (2001). Psychology of physical activity: Determinants, well-being and interventions. London: Routledge;

[10] Biddle, S.J.H., Fox, K.R., & Boutcher, S.H. (2000). Physical activity and psychological well-being. London: Routledge;

[11] Ferreira, J.P. (2006). Physical Self and Global Self-Esteem in Wheelchair Sport athletes. A mixed method approach. FCDEF: Coimbra;

[12] Lewis, V. (2003). Development and Disability (Second Edition). Blackwell Publishing.

[13] Ferreira, J.P., & Campos, M.J. (2007). Principais benefícios do exercício e da prática desportiva regular em grupos com necessidades especiais. Revista Horizonte. Nov-Dez, Vol. XXI, nº 126 (dossier);

[14] Blinde, E.M., & McClung, L.R. (1997). Enhancing the Physical and Social Self Through Recreational Activity: Accounts of Individuals with Physical Disabilities. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 14: 327-344.

[15] Ferreira, J.P. (2006). Exercício, Autopercepções e bem-estar psicológico em praticantes com deficiência motora. In D. Rodrigues (Ed.) Actividade Motora Adaptada: A alegria do corpo. S. Paulo: Artes Médicas, pp. 144-158

[16] Williams, T. (1994). Disability sport socialization and identity construction. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 11: 14-31;

[17] De Pauw, K. & Gavron, S.J. (1995). Disability and Sport. Human Kinetics;

[18] ACSM`s (2000). ACSM´s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (6th Edition). Lippincott: Williams & Wilkins.

[19] Sherrill, C. (1984). Sport and Disabled Athletes. Illinois: Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.

[20] Miller, P. (1995). Fitness Programming and Physical Disability. Human Kinetics.

[21] Lockette, K., & Keyes, A. (1994). Conditioning with Physical Disabilities. Human Kinetics. [22] Winnick, J.P. (2000). Adapted physical education and sport. Human Kinetics.