Introduction: Athletic identity is connected with the “self- concept” coined by H.Markus that has been based on the assumption that various areas of the complex “self” are activated by the environment. Athletic identity constitutes one of the dimensions determining the level of an individual’s identification with the role of a sportsman. Sports competition as part of the Special Olympics may constitute a relevant aspect of identity in people with intellectual disabilities thus facilitating their functioning in society.
Material and methods: The research was carried out in a group of people with moderate intellectual disabilities (N=11) aged 15-23 years, who are contestants of Special Olympics Sports Club from Wrocław. A method of diagnostic survey was used for the purpose of the study as well as the technique of interview the questions of which were designated by test items of Athletic Identity Measurement Scale developed by Brewer, Van Raalte and Linder with a response scale changed from Likert scale to pictoral scale comprehensible to people with intellectual disabilities. A low number of subjects in the investigated group and special adaptation of the research tool enabled performance of a qualitative analysis of results, only.
Results: The subjects with intellectual disabilities generally do not identify themselves with the role of a sportsman, with some differences, however within individual descriptions of the self made with the use of Athletic Identity Measurement Scale categories.
Conclusions: Training and sport competitions offered by Special Olympics to people with intellectual disabilities contribute to the extension of their identity by aspects connected with the spirit of competition.
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