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The comfort derived from social comparisons at a camp for youth with neuromuscular disease

Doug Knapp, PhD, Shay Dawson, MA, CTRS, Jennifer Piatt, PhD, CTRS, Mary Ann Devine, PhD, CTRS, Eric Knackmuhs, PhD


Evidence suggests that disability-specific camps may positively affect the social domains of youth with disabilities while attending residential programs. However, research has not focused on neuromuscular disease-specific camps despite a national programming presence. The current study used a qualitative phenomenological approach with 14 youth from a Muscular Dystrophy Association specific camp. The five to six-month post camp interviews yielded three themes associated with the participants' camp experience. There were recollections of the activities related to the camp, a strong feeling of comfort while participating in this week-long experience, and an apparent ease to which all of the participants were able to get along with each other due to the acceptance of each camper and their life's story. The application of social comparison theory to individuals experiencing health conditions is used to interpret the findings of this exploratory study.


neuromuscular disease, disability-specific camp, social comparison, comfort

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