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The recreation and leisure pursuits of employed adults with visual impairments in Nigeria: Part 2.

Recreation and leisure activities are critical quality of life components for children, youths, and adults throughout the world (Akinremi, 2010; Cordes, 2013; Kraus, Barber, & Shapiro, 2001; McLean & Hurd, 2011; Mull, Forrester, & Barnes, 2013; World Health Organization, 2010a, 2010b). Such activities may involve individuals, small groups, or whole communities, and are often viewed as means of reducing physical, social, and psychological isolation for people (Asagba & Ibraheem, 2006; Bell, Tyrvainen, Sievanen, Probstl, & Simpson, 2007; Mowen & Baker, 2009). It is also recognized that indoor and outdoor recreational activities constitute an important role in the lives of people with visual impairments (that is, those who are blind or have low vision) (Gold, 1988; Lieberman, Ponchillia, & Ponchillia, 2013; Lieberman & Stuart, 2002; Rimmer, 2005, 2008; Ward, Farnsworth, Babkes-Stellino, & Perrett, 2011).

In much of the literature that we reviewed, there was a sense that in the 21st century, more people participated in recreation because young people and adults in developed countries (unlike those in developing nations) had more leisure time and discretionary income based on the work they performed, with well-defined social structures (Bell et al., 2007; World Youth Report, 2003). Therefore, in order to place the current study in perspective, we examined leisure and recreation participation of adults with visual impairments in Nigeria relative to the prevailing conditions and services in the country. This investigation is relevant because Nigeria has abundant natural resources and is the most populous country in Africa, with a population of over 158 million (World Bank, 2012). Approximately 55% of the populace live in poverty (World Bank, 2012), however, with limited opportunities for educational, medical, and social services (Aigbokhan, 2000). There are 4.25 million people over the age of 40 who have visual impairments in the country (Abdull et al., 2009; Kyari et al., 2009). The extent to which these socioeconomic and cultural factors affect perceptions and participation in recreation and leisure of persons with visual impairments is largely unknown because of the dearth of empirical research on this topic. This study aims to fill the gaps in knowledge and practice in the provision of leisure services for persons with vision loss in Nigeria.

Although traditional games and sports like Ayo, Abula, Kokawa, Dambe, Langa, and Aarin are played in most Nigerian communities (Akinremi, 2010), it is only in recent years that the government has made conscious efforts to standardize the rules guiding these activities for the general population, without modifications for persons with disabilities. According to Africa Star News (2014), the top five popular sports in Nigeria are: soccer (football), boxing, basketball, running, and dancing. We also know that prior to the country's independence from Great Britain in 1960, the elitist citizens in the country frequently engaged in sports and games that were imported from Europe; notable among these was polo, which was first introduced to Nigeria in 1930 during colonial rule (Nsehe, 2011, May).

Nonetheless, in our review of past policies in Nigeria, we found some initiatives taken by the government that seemed to encourage the participation of people with disabilities in sports, leisure, and recreation. For instance, Achalu (1990) reported that commissions for sports were established in some states in Nigeria to assist persons with disabilities. Likewise, the former military government enacted a 1993 decree which, among other things, directed that at least 10% of all funds committed to sports and recreation be applied to the development of recreation and sports for all persons with disabilities (Disability Rights Education Defense Fund, 2012). Furthermore, the government made the commitment to train personnel and to provide an enabling environment to actualize these objectives.

In the current study, we were specifically interested in whether employed Nigerian adults with visual impairments would be actively engaged in leisure and recreation. If so, we wondered what their levels of engagement would be and whether their engagement was related to their level of income or other quantifiable factors such as gender, age, and marital status. Therefore, this research provides a quantitative basis for understanding the recreation and leisure pursuits of Nigerian adults with visual impairments.

Quantitative methodology

QUANTITATIVE RECREATION AND LEISURE MEASURES

The questions evaluated by the present study were selected responses with Likert-type rating scales. The Likert scales include values of one through five, with five being the value that is representative of the most important, greatest, most frequent, most improved, or most satisfied response option, and one being the value that is representative of the least important, smallest, least frequent, least improved, or least satisfied response option. A description of the five measures of recreation and leisure evaluated by the present study follows.

Options for the question "How important is it to your quality of life to be engaged in leisure and recreation?" ranged from "hardly important at all" to "very important." When asked "How many opportunities are there for you to engage in recreation and leisure activities," respondents used a scale ranging from "hardly any" to "a great many." We asked respondents about their access to recreation and leisure activities and to what degree they engaged in such activities, rating their answers from "hardly at all" to "a great deal." The response options to questions concerning respondents' perceptions of future recreation and leisure opportunities ranged from "greatly decline" to "greatly improve." The measure of recreation and leisure satisfaction ranged from "very dissatisfied" to "very satisfied."

The dependent variables in this research study included five measures of recreation and leisure: (a) perceived importance of recreation and leisure to quality of life, (b) opportunities for engagement in recreation and leisure activities, (c) access to and frequency of participation in such activities, (d) likelihood of involvement in recreation and leisure activities in the near future, and (e) satisfaction with involvement in recreation and leisure activities.

QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH QUESTIONS

We evaluated each of the five measures of recreation and leisure within all of our research questions. The specific research questions we asked were:

1. On average, what did the entire pool of participants report for each of the five measures of recreation and leisure?

2. Were there any significant differences between participants' recreation and leisure responses based on their degree of visual impairment (that is, total blindness or partial sight [low vision]) or their age at onset of their visual impairment (that is, childhood onset or onset during their adult years)?

3. Were there any significant differences between participants' recreation and leisure engagement based on their gender and when considering degree of visual impairment (total blindness or partial sight [low vision])?

4. Were there any significant differences between participants' recreation and leisure responses based on their marital status?

5. Were there any significant differences between participants' recreation and leisure responses based on the highest level of education they attained?

6. Were there any significant differences between participants' recreation and leisure responses based on their employment status (annual income or hours worked per week)?

QUANTITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS

Relationship to companion piece

Wolffe, Ajuwon, and Kelly (2013) comprises a companion piece that includes the same participant sample and emphasizes quantitative aspects of employment. Thus, the statistical methods used for the present study about recreation and leisure pursuits replicate Wolffe et al. (2013). We emphasize the relationship between this study and quantitative aspects of work life referenced in the prior portions of this project.

Description of statistical methods used

There was no identifying participant information included in the data analysis files. We analyzed the data with SPSS Version 19. The Mann-Whitney U test (Wilcoxon, 1945) was the data analysis procedure implemented as the nonparametric alternative to the independent t-test. The Mann-Whitney U test compared the difference between the mean ranks of a recreation and leisure measure with two independent groups involved in a particular research question (male and female, married and unmarried, or individuals with at least one postsecondary degree and those without, for example). A standard alpha level of .05 ([alpha] = .05) was used to evaluate statistically significant differences.

Whenever a statistically significant difference was found between the two groups involved in a particular research question, the group with the higher mean rank for each recreational measure was presented and compared with the group with the lower mean rank. Although we evaluated each of the five measures of recreation and leisure within all of our research questions, we only report on those measures found to be significant in the results section that follows.

Results

DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF RECREATION AND LEISURE MEASURES

The first research question in this study involved a descriptive analysis of the average responses given by participants to each of the five measures of recreation and leisure we evaluated. Table 1 shows the results for research question 1. On average, the five-point Likert scale showed that participants reported a mean rating of 3 or the neutral middle response option to three of the five measures of recreation and leisure activity. The three measures of recreation and leisure they rated as neutral included: opportunities for engagement in recreation and leisure (some opportunities), frequency of participation in recreation and leisure activities (some participation), and likelihood of recreation and leisure involvement in the near future (involvement will stay about the same). The participants rated perceived importance of recreation and leisure to quality of life and their satisfaction with their involvement in recreation and leisure activities on average as 4 (quite important and satisfied).

IMPACT OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT ON RECREATION AND LEISURE PARTICIPATION

Degree of visual impairment

This research question considered the impact of degree of visual impairment on the five measures of recreation and leisure. There was a significant difference in the satisfaction of participants with involvement in recreation and leisure activities based on degree of visual impairment (z = -2.33, p < .05). Participants with low vision reported more satisfaction with their involvement (average rank = 99.12) than participants who were totally blind (average rank = 80.33). We found no other significant differences pertaining to degree of visual impairment for any of the other measures of recreation and leisure (p > .05).

Age at onset of visual impairment participation

We found significant differences in participants' reporting of opportunities to engage in recreation and leisure activities based on their age at onset of visual impairment (z = -2.50, p < .05) and their satisfaction with involvement in recreation and leisure activities (z = -2.21, p < .05). Participants with adult-onset visual impairment reported more opportunities to engage in recreation and leisure activities (average rank = 100.37) than participants with visual impairments that occurred during childhood (average rank = 80.65). Likewise, participants with adult-onset visual impairment reported more satisfaction with their involvement in recreation and leisure activities (average rank = 97.30) than participants with visual impairments that occurred during childhood. We identified no other significant differences with any of the other measures of recreation and leisure based on the participants' age at onset of visual impairment (p > 05).

IMPACT OF GENDER ON RECREATION AND LEISURE PARTICIPATION

There was a significant difference between participation in recreation and leisure activities and gender (z = -2.39, p < .05). The male participants reported they participated in recreation and leisure activities (average rank = 92.33) more often than female participants (average rank = 73.88). This was the only measure of recreation and leisure with a significant difference based on the participants' gender.

When considering only the participants who were totally blind and their gender differences, participation in recreation and leisure activities was again the only significant result (z = -2.29, p < .05). The male participants who were totally blind participated more often in recreation and leisure activities (average rank = 69.24) than female participants who were totally blind (average rank = 53.28). The last component of the analysis of this third research question involved the participants in the study who had low vision. We found no significant differences pertaining to gender differences of individuals who had low vision on any of the five measures considered in the recreation and leisure analyses (P > 05).

IMPACT OF MARITAL STATUS ON RECREATION AND LEISURE PARTICIPATION

This research question offered no significant results. We noted no significant differences on any of the five measures of recreation and leisure related to the participants' marital status (p > .05).

IMPACT OF POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION ON RECREATION AND LEISURE PARTICIPATION

There was a significant difference between the perceived level of importance of recreation and leisure activities which participants attributed to their quality of life based on highest level of educational attainment (z = -2.50, p < .05). Those participants with at least one postsecondary degree attributed more importance to the impact of recreation and leisure on quality of life (average rank = 95.66) than those participants who had no postsecondary degree (average rank = 78.67). We found no other significant differences between the recreation and leisure measures based on participants' highest level of educational attainment (p > .05).

IMPACT OF EARNINGS ON RECREATION AND LEISURE PARTICIPATION

Annual income

There was a significant difference between the participants' levels of participation in recreation and leisure activities based on annual income (z = -2.15, p > .05). Those participants with a higher annual income participated more often in recreation and leisure activities (average rank = 121.50) than those participants with a lower annual income (average rank = 84.26). We identified no other significant differences based on annual income with any of the other measures of recreation and leisure (p > .05).

IMPACT OF WORKLOAD (HOURS WORKED) ON RECREATION AND LEISURE PARTICIPATION

Hours worked per week

We found no significant differences found on the five measures of recreation and leisure based on hours worked per week (p > .05).

LIMITATIONS

All data in the present study was self-reported. Reliance on self-reported data can present notable limitations. However, we recognize that self-reported data is considered a reliable source of information in most circumstances that address critical issues (Rutherford, Cacciola, Alterman, McKay, & Cook, 2000).

Furthermore, this study used a convenience sample. One of the primary limitations of using a convenience sample is that the results cannot be projected to the wider population. The convenience sample involved in the present study comprised working adults with visual impairments. We identified subjects based on their membership in the Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB) and on their status as employed individuals. It is noteworthy that the NAB is the main organization of persons with blindness, with representation in each of the six geopolitical regions of Nigeria.

Discussion

The status of programs related to recreation and leisure of people who are blind in Nigeria and many other developing countries is still rudimentary compared to those in more affluent nations. Among policymakers and the general population, the concept of leisure time is not always well understood, nor is it a priority in such countries (Akinremi, 2010; Sheykhi, 2003; World Youth Report, 2003). In fact, many of the activities that may be viewed as recreational in well-developed nations (McLean & Hurd, 2011; Mull et al., 2013) are considered a means of livelihood in Nigeria; for example, fishing, hunting, handicrafts, painting, pottery, and music (Akinremi, 2010; Asagba & Ibraheem, 2006). Consequently, the majority of Nigerians are often focused on survival skills and are less likely to be actively engaged in recreation and leisure activities. Furthermore, the communities are frequently impoverished, with limited public and private sector interests in social services (World Health Organization, 2010a).

We were pleased to learn that the majority of our respondents, who were all employed, engaged in some form of recreational activity. However, we were disappointed to learn that most of those activities involved solitary and passive activities. In fact, 41% of the 172 sampled participants commented that they engaged in such passive indoor activities as listening to radio, watching television and movies, reading, and cooking, while 21% of sampled participants stated that they engaged in limited outdoor activities, including walking. Activities in "unspecified setting" for respondents were identified as: socializing with friends or family members (12%), singing or playing an instrument (11%), and attending religious or traditional festivals (5%). Six percent of participants indicated they did not engage in any form of recreation.

Of course, there are documented problems associated with physical inactivity (Holbrook, Caputo, Perry, Fuller, & Morgan, 2009; Labudzki & Tasiemski, 2013; Mowen & Baker, 2009; Rimmer, 2008; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002). According to the World Health Organization (2010b), physical inactivity is the fourth leading factor for global mortality, and, worldwide, 6% of deaths are attributed to physical inactivity. Furthermore, physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles are among the leading causes of obesity (World Health Organization, 2010b). Therefore, it behooves us to consider this result from our study seriously and to work toward supporting Nigerians with visual impairments in more active pursuits.

The data we gathered also pointed to the fact that with greater income, individuals participated more often in recreation and leisure activities. We also discovered some disparities between groups of respondents:

* Individuals with low vision noted greater satisfaction with their recreational pursuits than did respondents who are blind.

* Respondents whose visual impairment occurred later in life evidenced more satisfaction than those with congenital visual loss or early-onset visual loss, and had more opportunities to engage in recreational activities.

* More men than women participated in recreational and leisure activities.

* Those adults with at least one postsecondary degree attributed more emphasis on the impact of recreation and leisure activities on their quality of life.

The finding that the male participants reported that they engaged more often than female respondents in recreation may not be surprising, given the overall male-oriented dominance of Nigerian society. There are cultural biases toward female participation in structured recreation, since adolescent girls and young women are expected to be fully involved in child-rearing or engaged in small-scale businesses around the home (Nwoke, 2013). In some communities, women may not be seen participating openly in recreation because of religious constraints (Atchison & Henderson, 2012). For women with visual impairments, society's views regarding shielding women from the public may be especially disempowering.

Conclusion and implications for practice

Several major themes have evolved from this project, namely, the impact of gender, age at onset of visual impairment, and postsecondary education attainment among the participants relative to their leisure and recreational pursuits. The critical question remains: Do policymakers, service providers, and individuals with visual impairments (especially adolescent girls and adult women) understand the problems associated with reduced or nonparticipation in recreation or leisure activities? If so, what can be done to facilitate the active engagement of all people with visual impairments in Nigeria? These are questions that necessitate additional research and offer opportunities for programmatic intervention with the populations noted.

Developed countries recognize that early exposure of young people to regular physical activity and the implementation of structured recreation and leisure programs for adults with and without disabilities help individuals maintain dignity and functional independence (Lieberman et al., 2013; Rimmer, 2005, 2008). Such programs need to be included in services in Nigeria. Clearly, the need is stronger today to foster in young Nigerians who are totally blind the virtues of dignity and independence that can lead to improved recreational engagement, resulting in a healthier lifestyle and social inclusion.

Given the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits of therapeutic recreation and leisure programs (Adedoja, 1984; Okunrotifa, 2006; Stumbo & Peterson, 2004), it is imperative for stakeholders to explore multiple opportunities that could increase the level of participation for both men and women with visual and other disabilities in physical and leisure activities. In doing so, professionals need to consider leisure and recreational options in their broadest sense, without boundaries. Furthermore, service providers need to recognize the fact that the most satisfying recreation or leisure activities need to be chosen by the individual, instead of being chosen by the service provider (Moon, et al., 1994).

Although the changing demographics in Nigeria can add a number of challenges to national planning, we feel that agencies responsible for recreation and leisure must prepare themselves to be responsive to people with visual disabilities in terms of ideas that will enhance their participation in community activities, without any cultural inhibitions. To this end, we reaffirm the necessity for human service agencies and individuals with visual impairments to collaborate on the development and implementation of community-based leisure and recreation programs that will lead to healthier lifestyles for all participants.

The broader issue of gender stereotyping and discrimination will likely require a significant public awareness effort that can best be initiated by the authorities following local discourse and a collaborative commitment to change. Such discourse is necessary because Nigeria has been a signatory to a number of international agreements and instruments that underscore the value of inclusion and the well-being of persons with disabilities through recreation, leisure, and sports, among other quality of life indicators.

Professionals and other individuals who are concerned about the health and welfare of Nigerians with visual impairments may find opportunities to help this population within the areas we have identified as challenges that are intrinsic to this population:

* overcoming low motivation or perceived physical limitations and vulnerability,

* making time for recreation and leisure activities,

* participating in disability-specific skills training such as orientation and mobility, and

* utilizing the services of volunteers, family members, or professionals for assistance.

Service providers in Nigeria may want to target groups like the NAB members who participated in our study and expressed interest in improving their skills to achieve greater opportunities for active engagement in recreation. From the comments provided, many of our respondents feel that they could benefit from additional training and exposure to mainstream recreational activities. Such a receptive group of individuals could lead the way for others with visual impairments in Nigeria as role models or mentors. The benefits of such skill improvement would then be multiplied and could possibly lead to a positive impact on the awareness levels of nondisabled citizens, as well as improve the overall life satisfaction of people with visual impairments.

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Paul M. Ajuwon, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Counseling, Leadership, & Special Education, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO 65897; e-mail: <paulajuwon@missouristate. edu>. Stacy M. Kelly, Ed.D, COMS, assistant professor, Department of Special and Early Education, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115; e-mail: <skelly@niu.edu>. Karen E. Wolffe, Ph.D., CRC, consultant, Career Counseling & Consultation, 2109 Rabb Glen Street, Austin, TX 78704; e-mail: <kwolffe@austin.rr.com>.
Table 1
Descriptive analysis of recreation and leisure activities.

Measure of recreation and leisure      M Likert scale rating

Perceived importance of recreation/   4 = quite important
leisure to quality of life

Opportunities for engagement          3 = some opportunities
in recreation/leisure                 for engagement

Frequency of participation in         3 = participation some
recreation/leisure activities         of the time

Likelihood of recreation/leisure      3 = involvement will
involvement in the near future        stay about the same

Satisfaction of recreation/           4 = satisfied
leisure involvement

M = mean.
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Author:Ajuwon, Paul M.; Kelly, Stacy M.; Wolffe, Karen E.
Publication:Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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