Influence of Service-Learning on DPT Students Immersed in Adaptive Sport for Military Veterans

Background & Purpose : The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability notes that involvement in sport activities for persons with disabilities can improve flexibility, mobility, coordination, strength as well as help to reduce the likelihood of secondary health conditions associated with disability. Service-learning (SL) is defined as a guided, structured learning experience that engages students by asking them to critically reflect on their experiences in service to a community for the mutual benefit of the student and community. It is this critical reflection that allows students to create new meaning from their experiences that can be transformative. It has been proposed that by participating in a SL experience, physical therapy students gain an enhanced sense of social responsibility and professional citizenship within a larger healthcare community. The purpose of this case description is to describe the effects of a community immersion SL project on 10 DPT students who provided rehabilitation and assistance services to U.S. military veterans with disabilities through an adaptive sports program and competition.Case Description : Ten 3rd year DPT students were provided with a unique opportunity to become immersed in a 3 day adaptive sport camp in which 50 military veterans attended followed by a 3 day adaptive sport competition where over 100 military veterans participated. Students were assigned a variety of tasks such as assisting with transfers to and from the required sports equipment, making recommendations for the least restrictive equipment including adjusting or adapting the sports equipment, educating in the areas of adaptive sport, wellness, injury management and prevention as well as serving as an advocate for the disabled military veterans.Outcomes : The Public Service Motivation Scale (PSM) was administered to the 10 DPT students before and after their involvement with the adaptive camp and competition experience. This scale has been used to assess attitudinal changes among participants in other public service projects such as the AmeriCorps program. The scale was designed to measure six dimensions of public service motivation: attraction to public policy making, commitment to the public interest, civic duty, social justice, self-sacrifice, and compassion. An exploratory repeated measures ANOVA was conducted on the subscales of the PSM.Discussion : Significant differences were found on the compassion subscale of the PSM (F1,9=10.7,p=0.010). Trends towards significance were also found with the PSM self-sacrifice subscale (F1,9=3.41,p=0.098). These findings are consistent with previous research studies reporting a positive impact on studentsÕ attitudes toward civic action and self-efficacy after participating in a SL experience. All students indicated they would seek out future opportunities for service. This study provides quantitative data supporting the use of SL as an effective pedagogy to increase feelings of social responsibility and citizenship as well as involvement in future civic activities

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  • Control #: 1651833
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Shana Harrington, Mary Lundy
  • Keywords: service learning|reflection|community based

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