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Well-being and quality of life in people with disabilities practicing sports, athletes with disabilities, and para-athletes: Insights from a critical review of the literature

Global well-being (GWB) is a complex, multi-dimensional, and multi-faceted construct that can be explored from two different, but often overlapping, complementary perspectives: the subjective and the objective ones. The subjective perspective, in turn, is comprised of two dimensions: namely, the hedonic and the eudaimonic standpoints. Within the former dimension, researchers have developed the concept of subjective hedonic well-being (SHWB), whereas, within the latter, they have built the framework of psychological and social well-being (PSWB). Disabled people have poorer well-being due to their pathology and may more frequently suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders than their able-bodied counterparts. Sports participation is an essential way to cope with disability. On the other hand, compared with their able-bodied peers, athletes with disabilities and para-athletes undergo a unique series of stressors. Little is known in terms of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being and quality of life in this specific population. Here, we review the literature, with an emphasis on the current state-of-art and gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed by future research. High-quality, large-scale investigations are needed to have a better understanding of the self-perceived (hedonic) and objective (eudaimonic) well-being and quality of life of disabled people practicing sports, athletes with disabilities, and para-athletes.