Understanding Friendship and Recreation: A Theoretical Sampling

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stuart J. Schleien, Professor & Chair (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The integration of adults with mental retardation into community leisure services has become an accepted focus of community leisure service providers. Researchers and practitioners alike have discovered that participation in integrated recreation programs provides adults with mental retardation opportunities to acquire a variety of functional leisure and social skills. However, without specific efforts to promote friendship development, these newly acquired leisure and social skills alone may not result in social integration. Strategies for promoting friendship development through recreation participation will depend upon a greater understanding of the relationship between recreation and friendship as it is perceived by adults with mental retardation. Three theories are presented in this article that are grounded in qualitative and quantitative data. Firstly, adults with mental retardation living in community residential facilities often do not develop meaningful, reciprocated friend-ships with peers. Rather, they mistakenly perceive staff, family, and other externally motivated or obligated people to be their friends. Secondly, adults with mental retardation do not typically meet and make new friends during recreation participation. At best, they may use the recreation domain to further nurture a relationship that was established previously. Finally, friendship development between adults with mental retardation and their nondisabled peers may be inhibited by the absence of social skills necessary to participate cooperatively in recreation.

Additional Information

Therapeutic Recreation Journal
Language: English
Date: 1991
Community Recreation, Friendship, Qualitative Research, Relationships, Therapeutic Recreation

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