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Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events
ISSN: 1940-7963 (Print) 1940-7971 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rprt20
Accessible tourism and its benefits for coping with
Andreia Filipa Antunes Moura, Elisabeth Kastenholz & Anabela Maria Sousa
To cite this article: Andreia Filipa Antunes Moura, Elisabeth Kastenholz & Anabela Maria
Sousa Pereira (2018) Accessible tourism and its benefits for coping with stress, Journal of Policy
Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, 10:3, 241-264, DOI: 10.1080/19407963.2017.1409750
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/19407963.2017.1409750
Published online: 07 Dec 2017.
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Accessible tourism and its benefits for coping with stress
Andreia Filipa Antunes Moura
, Elisabeth Kastenholz
and Anabela Maria
Coimbra Education School, Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal;
GOVCOPP –Research Unit
on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal;
Department of Economics, Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism, University of Aveiro, Aveiro,
DEP –Department of Education and Psychology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal;
Research Centre on Didactics and Technology in the Education of Trainers, University of Aveiro, Aveiro,
The present study had two main objectives: (i) to understand the
relationship between tourism and stress-coping for individuals
with disabilities, and (ii) to develop an empirical basis for
therapeutic purposes and for improving new tourism products
and policies, in a biopsychosocial framework. An empirical study
was conducted using participants with disabilities (N= 306) who
were assessed with the Leisure Coping Scale adapted to the
Accessible Tourism context. The positive influence of tourism on
these individuals’biopsychosocial dimensions of stress-coping is
identified and discussed. Results suggest that accessible tourism
should be recognized as a new stress-coping resource for disabled
people, supporting the rebalancing of their personal and social
resources, positively contributing to their health and well-being.
These findings provide further evidence for the development of
new tourism products targeted to a population with special
needs, and for accurate policies of alternative therapeutic
interventions in the context of their rehabilitation.
El estudio tiene como objetivos principales los siguientes puntos: (i)
para comprender la relación entre turismo y estrés coping para
personas con discapacidad y para desarrollar una base empírica
para propuestas terapéuticas para el desarrollo de nuevos
productos de turismo. Un estudio empírico fue conducido en
pacientes con discapacidad (N= 306) que han tenido acceso a la
Escala Leisure Coping adaptada en un contexto de turismo
accesible. La influencia positiva del turismo en estos individuos a
nivel psicosocial fue identificada y discutida. Los resultados
sugieren que el turismo accesible puede ser una nueva
herramienta de estrés-coping para personas discapacitadas
soportando el reequilibrio de sus vidas personales y sociales,
contribuyendo para la salud y bienestar. Estos resultados pueden
garantizar descubiertas para el desarrollo de nuevos productos
para poblaciones específicas con necesidades especiales y aún
Received 31 January 2017
Accepted 29 October 2017
Accessible tourism; stress-
coping; disability; social
tourism; health and wellness
Turismo Accesible; Estrés-
Tourisme accessible; stress-
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Andreia Filipa Antunes Moura email@example.com Coimbra Education School, Polytechnic Institute
of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; GOVCOPP –Research Unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies, University
of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS
2018, VOL. 10, NO. 3, 241–264
para nuevas y alternativas políticas terapéuticas en contextos de
Cette étude vise deux objectifs principaux: (i) comprendre la relation
entre le tourisme et l’adaptation au stress pour les personnes
handicapées, et (ii) développer une base empirique à des fins
thérapeutiques et à l’amélioration de nouveaux produits
touristiques dans un cadre biopsychosocial. Une étude empirique
a été menée auprès des participants ayant un handicap (N= 306)
qui ont été évalués à l’aide de l’échelle de loisir adaptée au
contexte du tourisme accessible. L’influence positive du tourisme
sur les dimensions biopsychosociales de l’adaptation au stress de
ces personnes est identifiée et discutée. Les résultats suggèrent
que le tourisme accessible devrait être reconnu comme une
nouvelle ressource pour les personnes handicapées qui résistent
au stress, en soutenant le rééquilibrage de leurs ressources
personnelles et sociales, contribuant positivement à leur santé et
à leur bien-être. Ces résultats fournissent des preuves pour le
développement de nouveaux produits touristiques focalisé sur
une population ayant des besoins spéciaux et pour une politique
précise des interventions thérapeutiques alternatives dans le
contexte de leur réadaptation.
休闲处理测量Leisure Coping Scale (LCS) 来对这些调研对象进行
The interaction between stress, coping and leisure or recreation was consistently
studied, theoretically and empirically, by the prolific research of Lazarus and
Folkman (1984). However, only a few authors have contributed to the increase of
knowledgeintheleisurefield(Schneider&Iwasaki,2003) and none, in particular,
in the field of tourism.
The literature proved the importance of leisure for health benefits and overall well-
being and particularly for the recovery and rehabilitation of individuals in extreme
cases of loss or negative life events, such as the emergence of a disability (Kleiber, Reel,
& Hutchinson, 2008). Moreover, tourism is a recognized Human Right and an important
social activity (McCabe & Diekmann, 2015), increasingly related to what people do in their
free time and within recreational activities (Mannell & Kleiber, 1997). It thus seems that
social tourism is the appropriate framework for this research, as it refers to initiatives that
242 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
include individuals who would otherwise be excluded in tourism activities (Assipova &
Minnaert, 2014). These include people living on a low income (McCabe, Minnaert, &
Diekmann, 2012) or those socially disadvantaged, as is frequently the case of the disabled
or the elderly (Walton, 2013).
So, in this study, we will analyse tourism as an activity developed in leisure time, whose
intrinsic features and specific benefits are very important in coping, arousing feelings of
freedom, autonomy and personal development, particularly relevant in minimizing and
controlling stress (Folkman & Moskowitz, 2004). Our aim and research innovation objec-
tive is to fill this gap in knowledge, perceiving tourism as a coping resource for people with
disabilities, one of the target groups of social tourism most frequently mentioned in the
literature (Carneiro, Eusébio, Kastenholz, & Alvelos, 2013).
Regarding a more frequently studied type of disability –mobility impairment –and the
fact that there is less-empirical evidence on other kinds of disability, the present paper also
aims to eliminate part of this limitation, based on the empirical object established: people
with physical and sensory disability, i.e. with mobility, visual and hearing impairments.
The sampling limits also exclude the population with intellectual or mental disability, con-
sidering the complexity of the subject and its evaluation tools (Bramston & Fogarty, 1995),
as it would not ensure reliable data and information collection (if they were themselves to
answer the questions) or anything comparable to that (if it were their caregivers to
Empirical evidence shows that leisure arouses positive feelings of freedom and personal
development, which illustrates its potential to reduce and control stress by promoting
social interaction, positive emotions and coping in the context of stressful situations
(Folkman & Moskowitz, 2004). Since tourism is recognized as a source of positive
impacts or benefits for an individual’s overall well-being and long-term quality of life
(La Placa & Corlyon, 2014; Neal, Uysal, & Sirgy, 2007), it can also be associated with
stress reduction, which is why we decided to study the intrinsic aspects of this activity
to minimize stress, from the perspective of people with disabilities.
This potential involvement of people with physical and sensory disability in tourism as
a coping resource, is to be analysed, allowing us to establish two major research objectives.
The first one, yielding a contribution to theory in the fields of tourism and psychology,
namely in the domain of stress-coping, is to better understand the dynamic relationship
between tourism and stress-coping amongst individuals with a disability. The second,
more focused on practical implications, aims at an empirical basis for the development
of relevant guidelines, not only for therapeutic purposes, but also for developing new,
more inclusive tourism policies and products, rooted in a biopsychosocial approach. As
suggested by the WTO Global Code of Ethics for World Tourism, ‘Social Tourism and
“Social Equity”is not a mere will of the wisp of idealists and marginalized pressure
groups, but an aspiration shared at the highest levels of industry and governments’
(Ryan, 2002, p. 19).
We will proceed by first presenting the literature review leading to the conceptual
model proposed here. The methodology of data collection and analysis to then validate
the model’s hypotheses is presented as well as results of the empirical study. The final
section is devoted to conclusions and a debate on the implications of results, some limit-
ations of our approach as well as future avenues of research.
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 243
Literature review and conceptual model
Stress negatively affects peoples’lives in modern society, causing sickness and disease,
diminishing daily performance and decreasing quality of life. The population with disabil-
ities is probably more exposed to disadvantaged situations (Walton, 2013) or to different
and more intense stress-inducing circumstances, which may cause instability –even more
severe when affecting the individual’s mental, psychological, emotional and even physical
Accessible leisure tourism, adopted as the main focus of this research, induces positive
effects on the development of its participants at various levels, which are even more
intense for people with disabilities (Shaw & Coles, 2004). It may enhance positive
emotions, thus serving the functions identified above, and may correspondingly be con-
sidered a stress-coping tool or a stress-control method, with particular relevance to the
Research gaps in this area are evident, explaining the relevance of this study for the
pursuit of knowledge and development of strategies to deal with stress for individuals
with disabilities, with the potential of thereby contributing to health and quality of life
of this population group (Mactavish & Iwasaki, 2005). Additionally, the involvement of
people with disabilities in accessible tourism should enhance their social inclusion and
permit the enjoyment of benefits that greatly affect their physical, social and mental
well-being, thus positively contributing to their overall rehabilitation (Kastenholz,
Eusébio, Moura, & Figueiredo, 2010).
Consequently, the relevance of this investigation is clear from (a) a scientific point of
view, since it corresponds to a new area of knowledge in psychology, leisure and
tourism, where research has given little attention to the role of leisure or recreational
activities as stress-coping mechanism, particularly relevant for the disabled population
(Iwasaki & Mannell, 2000; Kleiber, Hutchinson, & Williams, 2002; Lazarus, 1993;
Zuzanek, Robinson, & Iwasaki, 1998), (b) a social perspective, as it promotes the inclusion
of a population frequently affected by discrimination and prejudice, (c) a therapeutic
angle, since it reveals means of enhancing the overall well-being of individuals with dis-
ability and (d) an economic standpoint, since it seeks to add arguments in favour of a
new management paradigm in the tourism industry, namely ‘accessible tourism’or
‘tourism for all’, stimulating loyal tourism demand.
Constructs established and selected were based on the studies of Lazarus and Folkman
(1984), Iwasaki and Mannell (2000) and Mactavish and Iwasaki (2005), considering the
population with disabilities as the research population (see Figure 1).
Through the presented conceptual model, it is possible to link the main topics under
study, showing how it is suggested they interrelate and affect each other. What are the
effects of tourism on people with disabilities? What are the benefits that tourism can
provide to individuals with disabilities, so that they can cope with stress successfully?
Do the individuals’type of disability and the socio-demographic profile influence the
way they deal with stress through tourism? These questions served as a starting point
for the methodological construction.
Based on the literature review, it can be assumed that stress-inducing circumstances are
different for the individual with disability, when compared with the rest of the population.
So, the way this individual will handle stress may also be different. Iwasaki and Mannell
244 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
(2000) proposed a hierarchical sub-dimension analysis of stress-coping through leisure,
assessed through the Leisure Coping Scales (LCS). Its applicability to the population
with disability is the first aim of the present study.
The benefits resulting from participation in accessible leisure tourism will be subject of
coping beliefs and strategies, as also suggested and empirically confirmed by Iwasaki and
Mannell (2000). Knowing that coping beliefs through leisure provide feelings of autonomy
and the promotion of friendship and that coping strategies through leisure promote fellow-
ship, palliative strategies and positive mood, it would be reasonable to think that both beliefs
and strategies could have an impact on the stress-coping of individuals with disabilities.
Additionally, this positive effect or feeling of ‘inner power’provided by participation in
accessible leisure tourism activities leads to the possibility of considering tourism as an
effective stress-coping resource for people with disabilities. Thus, it is important to under-
stand the intrinsic and distinctive features of this special population and to understand
how tourism can lead to overall well-being (Brown & Hall, 2005; Coleman & IsoA-
hola,1993; IsoAhola & Park, 1996; Mannell & Kleiber, 1997; Mueller & Kaufmann,
2001). In this case, we suggest the following hypotheses:
H1- Participation in accessible leisure tourism activities positively affects various biopsycho-
social stress-coping dimensions of the individual with physical and sensory disability:
H1a –Participation in accessible leisure tourism activities has a positive effect on the coping
of people with physical and sensory disabilities, through coping beliefs;
H1b - Participation in accessible leisure tourism activities has a positive effect on the coping
of people with physical and sensory disabilities, through the development of coping
H2- Coping beliefs and strategies through tourism vary, depending on the type of disability
and the socio-demographic and economic profile of individuals;
Figure 1. Conceptual model and research hypotheses.
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 245
H3- Stress-coping through tourism rebalances and harmonizes the resources of people with
physical and sensory disability, positively influencing their overall well-being.
This conceptual model and hypotheses suggested will be validated with data collected from
an empirical study, as explained in the following section.
We opted for a multidimensional and interdisciplinary strategy, in order to understand the
beliefs and coping strategies of individuals with disabilities in a specific leisure context –
tourism –trying to simultaneously measure the impact of leisure activities in the context of
accessible tourism in the control and management of stress for these individuals. Tourism
and especially stress-coping are social phenomena, as they imply contact, interaction and
social support (Coleman & IsoAhola, 1993; Hood & Carruthers, 2007; IsoAhola & Park,
1996; Iwasaki, 2001; Iwasaki & Mannell, 2000; Kleiber et al., 2002). Simultaneously,
they may be considered individual phenomena, requiring intimate psychological pro-
cesses, making their study most complex (Jennings & Nickerson, 2006; Kastenholz,
Eusébio, Figueiredo, & Lima, 2012). A full understanding of this reality requires both
introspection and interpretation, through a phenomenological approach, as suggested
by Cohen (1979) and Elands and Lengkeek (2000).
Concerning research design, a transversal, correlational and quantitative study method
was used, as detailed next.
The survey took place in Portugal, over a period of 4 months, from June to September
2013, in person or electronically, according to the convenience of the respondents
(people with mobility, visual and hearing impairments). This application period was
chosen so as to obtain answers in which the tourist experience had been recent. Addition-
ally, respondents were asked to indicate how long ago the last tourist experience had been,
and all those who indicated ‘more than one year’were excluded. A ‘snowball’sampling
technique was used, consisting of the initial contact with some elements of the target
population, who indicated other possible participants with the same characteristics or
characteristics required by the study, thereby fostering networks of formal and informal
contacts relevant to this study.
A total sample of responses from 306 individuals with physical and sensory disability
was obtained. This sample consists mainly of individuals between 25 and 44 years of
age (60.6%), distributed almost equally by gender (56.4% male, 43.6% female). Out of
these respondents, 66.2% present a motor disability, 15.7% a hearing disability and
14.4% a visual disability, and only 3.6% have another sort of incapacity, a category that
includes the combination of any of the above (see Figure 2).
When asked about the severity of their disability, survey participants state they have a
serious problem (83.7%) and only a few consider that their disability is not a problem
(2.9%) (Table 1). This information collection was inspired by the International Classifi-
cation of Functioning, Disabilities and Health (ICF), whose codes require the use of
one or more qualifiers (Functions and Body Structures, Activities and Participation and
Environmental Factors) that indicate the magnitude of health or the severity of disability:
246 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
(i) .0 Not a problem (none, absent, insignificant); (ii) .1 Slight problem (light, small); (iii) .2
Moderate problem (medium, regular); (iv) .3 Serious problem (large, extreme); (v) .4
Severe problem (total); (vi) .8 Not specified; (vii) .9 Not applicable (WHO, 2004). As
might be expected, 63.2% need some kind of mobility aid, and out of those, 41.7% refer
to a wheelchair (manual or electric) as the main technical assistance, followed by crutches
(8.1%) and guide dogs for assistance (2.3%).
As far as socio-demographics are concerned (see also summary in Table 2), the respon-
dents’family situation is shaped by most being unmarried (58.9%), while 33.0% are
married or have a partner, with a large majority not having any children (71.4%). Inter-
estingly, 44.6% of the respondents are employed and only 14.3% are unemployed (see
Figure 3), with the majority showing a high-educational level (39.6% with a higher edu-
cation degree and 37.6% having completed secondary education), contrary to what was
found in previous research concerning this target population in Portugal (Casas, 2005;
Centro de Reabilitação Profissional de Gaia, 2007; Gonçalves, 2003).
Figure 2. Type of disability.
Table 2. Summary of socio-demographic profile of the sample.
Socio-demographic characteristics Age group [25–44] (N= 186)
Gender Male (N= 172)
Type of disability Motor (N= 202)
Severity of disability Serious problem (N= 256)
Family situation/Marital status Single (N= 179)
Parenthood No children (N= 217)
Professional situation Employed (N= 137)
Qualifications Higher education (N= 120)
Income [€240–€480] (N= 60)
Table 1. Severity of disability.
Severity of disability Frequency (No.) Percentage (%)
Not a problem 9 2.9
Slight problem 2 0.7
Moderate problem 3 1.0
Serious problem 256 83.7
Severe problem 20 6.5
Did not answer 16 5.2
Total 306 100.0
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 247
Finally, discretionary monthly income is mostly under €960, and it should be stressed
that 19.6% of respondents earn between €240 and €480, 17.3% from €480 to €720, 13.7%
from €720 to €960, and 11.1% less than €240.
Considering that the present research focuses on tourism, it was also relevant to under-
stand tourism preferences of the individuals in the study. Thus, 44% of respondents
showed a preference for sun and sea activities during their holidays, followed by cultural
and nature tourism activities, with respectively 16% and 15% of the preferences. Results
also highlight the fact that the level of satisfaction with these activities is quite high,
ranging from satisfied (27%) to very satisfied (33%), considering a single-item, 5-point
Likert-type scale (1, ‘Not satisfied, at all’;5,‘Very satisfied’). Finally, it is noteworthy
that respondents refer to the habit of travelling mostly with family and friends (80%).
The questionnaire consisted of the adaptation of two scales already tested and validated by
Iwasaki and Mannell (2000) and translated into Portuguese by Santos, Ribeiro, and Gui-
marães (2003)–the Leisure Coping Beliefs Scale (LCBS) and Leisure Coping Strategies
Scale (LCSS), introducing two innovations: its application to people with physical and
sensory disability in the context of leisure tourism. These scales included, essentially,
closed-ended questions, i.e. questions demanding answer choices to be chosen by respon-
dents, depending on their situation, opinion or preferences, particularly measuring behav-
iour choices and emotions through Likert scale graduations (1, ‘Disagree’;5,‘Strongly
Based on Iwasaki and Mannell’s(2000) model, the adequacy and adjustment of scales
applied was initially inspected firstly by calculating the Spearman correlation coefficient
between the various stress-coping dimensions, and then the Cronbach’s Alpha
In this research, the adapted assessment instruments were first validated as to their
adjustment and legitimacy. Secondly, results of the adapted scales, appropriate to the
context and population in study, were analysed. So, we started with a confirmatory
factor analysis rather than with an exploratory factor analysis as the scales adopted
were an adjustment of the original LCS, assessing the constructs of the proposed interpret-
ation model. Some variables did not show satisfactory values, requiring the elimination of
some items of the original structures of the LCS, resulting in new scales adjusted to acces-
sible leisure tourism, labelled here Leisure Coping Scales in the context of Accessible
Leisure Tourism (LCS-ALT –see Appendix I). The results obtained demonstrate the
Figure 3. Employment status.
248 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
feasibility of the biopsychosocial stress-coping dimensions suggested in the LCS-ALT for a
subsequent analysis of the proposed model, contributing to a better understanding of the
phenomena under study.
Procedure and data analysis
Descriptive statistics permit sample characterization and specification of general infor-
mation about biopsychosocial stress-coping dimensions, hierarchically organized by
beliefs and strategies within leisure tourism for people with disabilities. Inter-relationships
between different variables influencing these coping mechanisms (beliefs and strategies)
were assessed by correlational analysis and variable association tests (correlations).
Finally, the association between types of disability and socio-demographic characteristics
of respondents and the coping beliefs and strategies was checked using bivariate analysis,
namely the non-parametric Mann–Whitney U test (when variables did not meet the
assumptions of the t-test).
Descriptive statistics, normality tests and bivariate analyses were performed using SPSS
software, while the confirmatory factor analysis was achieved with LISREL computer soft-
ware. In short, analysis of the data collected through the questionnaire-based survey
helped validate hypotheses H1, H2 and H3.
Results and discussion
The statistical analysis allowed us to understand the relationships suggested in the research
model and respective hypotheses, firstly through univariate data analysis by determining
absolute frequencies and average values, then through a correlation analysis between con-
structs, culminating in bivariate analysis, through inferential tests (Mann–Whitney U test
Note that results are generally presented for the whole sample (N= 306) and, when
appropriate to the research objectives, separated according to three subsamples, corre-
sponding to the three types of disability analysed: motor, hearing and visual.
Leisure coping scales in the context of accessible leisure tourism
Following Iwasaki and Mannell (2000), the Leisure Coping Beliefs Scale, LCBS-ALT,may
be split into two relevant coping dimensions: Autonomy and Friendship. Autonomy can
be divided into the sub-dimensions of Self-Determination and Empowerment, while
Friendship includes the sub-dimensions of Emotional Support, Self-Esteem, Tangible
Aid and Information Support.
In a global perspective, descriptive results indicate mean, median and mode values
mostly above 3, except for item 29, ‘I lack emotional support from my travel companions’,
averaging 1.91 (SD = 1.16), and median and mode averaging 1 point, but this is an inverted
item. Moreover, item 11 stands out: ‘what I do within tourism allows me to feel good about
myself’, with the highest mean (4.40, SD = 0.72), mode (5) and median (5) values.
Results for the sub-dimensions (Self-Determination, Empowerment for Autonomy;
Emotional Support, Self-Esteem, Tangible Aid and Information Support for Friendship)
are detailed next.
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 249
Regarding Self-determination, there is a mean of 4.33 (SD = 0.81), which is above
average for item 2: ‘tourism provides opportunities to regain a sense of freedom’. In the
Empowerment sub-dimension, the above-cited item 11 is emphasized, but items 4 (‘I
gain feelings of personal control in tourism’) and 19 (‘things I do within tourism help
me to gain confidence’) also have a mean around 4 points. In the case of Emotional
Support, we highlight item 28 (‘I feel emotionally supported by my travel companions’),
with a mean of 4.05 (SD = 0.93). Considering Self-Esteem, we highlight the top results
obtained in every item, emphasizing item 1: ‘my travel companions help me feel good
about myself’(mean 4.29, SD = 0 90), item 10: ‘my travel companions hold me in high
esteem’(mean 4.26, SD = 0.83), and item 21:‘I am respected by my travel companions’
(mean 4.39; SD = 0.80). In Tangible Aid, item 25 (‘most of my travel companions are
happy to take care of my house (apartment), children or pets when I am away’) stands
out negatively, with a mean of only 2.83 (SD = 1.26). This result, as mentioned in the
study of Santos et al. (2003, p. 444), using the same scale, ‘may be related to the possible
lack of application to the Portuguese context’, since most respondents show disability situ-
ations that cause physical dependence on others, which explains the fact that many of
them live with their families, not having their own residence or pets. Finally, under Infor-
mation Support, all items reach medians above 4 points, except for item 3, ‘my travel
companions assist me in deciding what to do’, with a mean of 3.38 (SD = 1.07).
In short, it appears that both large dimensions have very high degrees of agreement,
while the Empowerment sub-dimension within the larger dimension Autonomy stands
out with item 11 (feeling good about oneself through tourism), and sub-dimension
Self-Esteem standing out in the dimension Friendship, with the globally most significant
As far as leisure coping strategies are concerned, the LCSS-ALT measures three major
dimensions: Companionship, Palliative Strategy and Positive Mood. Results show that
all items reach a median of 3 and 4 points, which means that the majority of the respon-
dents ‘agree moderately’(3) or ‘strongly’(4) with the statements related to coping strat-
egies through leisure tourism, as is observable in Table 3.
Within the dimension Companionship,item 18 stands out: ‘one of my strategies to
deal with stress was participation in social tourism’(mean = 3.23, SD = 1.23); lower
than the other items, with modes of 4 points and means above 3.30, in particular item
5, ‘socializing in tourism was a means of managing stress’(mean = 3.51, SD = 1.18). In
the Palliative Strategy dimension, item 3 –‘I engaged in a tourism activity to temporarily
Table 3. Descriptive results of the dimensions and sub-dimensions of LCS-ALT.
Mean Median Standard deviation (SD) Min. Max. Skewness Kurtosis
LCBS-ALT 3.85 3.86 0.53 2.17 5.00 –0.37 –0.02
Autonomy Self-determination 4.10 4.00 0.78 1.00 5.00 –0.99 0.98
Empowerment 3.98 4.00 0.70 1.33 5.00 –0.70 0.79
Friendship Emotional support 3.28 3.33 0.54 1.67 5.00 0.09 0.99
Self-esteem 4.23 4.25 0.68 1.50 5.00 –0.91 0.69
Tangible aid 3.66 3.69 0.82 1.25 5.00 –0.34 –0.30
Information support 3.74 3.75 0.71 1.25 5.00 –0.51 0.32
LCSS-ALT 3.51 3.57 0.72 1.00 5.00 –0.33 0.04
Companionship 3.38 3.50 0.99 1.00 5.00 –0.45 –0.30
Palliative strategy 3.21 3.33 0.82 1.00 5.00 –0.26 –0.05
Positive mood 4.09 4.00 0.67 1.00 5.00 –0.73 1.17
250 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
get away from the problem’–stands out with lower agreement values. Items 4 –‘escape
through tourism was a way of coping with stress’–and 9 –‘tourism was an important
means of keeping myself busy’show relatively high agreement values. Finally, items
associated with Positive Mood present the highest mode (5 points) as well as the
higher mean values, above 4.20, more specifically, items 6 –‘I gained a positive feeling
from tourism’(mean of 4.20, SD = 0.89) and 10 –‘I maintained a good mood within
tourism’(mean of 4.28, SD = 0.79).
In general, the dimension that gets lowest agreement values is the descriptive Palliative
strategy, with means that vary from 2.50 to 3.50, followed by Companionship, averaging
from 3.00 to 3.50 approximately, as compared with more positive evaluations of the
dimension Positive Mood with averages above 3.50.
So, taking some adjustments into account, we worked with an instrument named the
LCS-ALT, as shown in Appendix 1. The adaptation of the LCS for the particular
context of accessible leisure tourism, considering the special features of a population
with motor and sensory disability, proved to be an appropriate procedure for the objec-
tives of this investigation.
Therefore, results of the application of LCS-ALT allow us to draw conclusions about the
impacts or benefits of accessible leisure tourism in the management and control of stress-
ful situations, as suggested in hypothesis H1 (Participation in accessible leisure tourism
positively affects various biopsychosocial stress-coping dimensions of the individual
with physical and sensory disability). Considering both H1a and H1b, a ‘positive effect’
is assumed when agreement levels are equal to or greater than 2 points, based on the 5-
point Likert scale used. Results obtained by descriptive analysis thus confirm hypotheses
H1a and H1b, showing that the average values (mean, median and mode) for both scales,
LCBS-ALT and LCSS-ALT, are in general above 3 points, proving that participation in
accessible leisure tourism activities has a positive effect on coping for people with disabil-
ities, either through the beliefs associated with such participation, or through strategies
developed during participation. Similar to other studies in social tourism, disabled
people revealed a strong interest in leisure tourism activities, with these activities being
considered of utmost importance for self-development (socially, physically and intellec-
tually), self-esteem (becoming proficient in challenge management), life satisfaction and
overall quality of life (Kastenholz, Eusébio, & Figueiredo, 2015). The above-mentioned
authors argue that these effects are particularly relevant for supporting social tourism pol-
icies yielding social inclusion of this underprivileged group of individuals.
For testing the hypothesis regarding coping beliefs and strategies through accessible
leisure tourism, correlations with Spearman’s coefficient (ρ) were calculated.
LCBS-ALT shows very strong association values with the sub-dimensions Information
Support (ρ= 0.83), Self-Esteem (ρ= 0.82), Empowerment (ρ= 0.79), and Tangible Aid
(ρ= 0.77) (see Table 4). These sub-dimensions referring to the same main construct of
Coping through Leisure may sometimes be associated, as can be seen through statistical
correlational tests (see Table 4). For example, Self-Determination is closely related to
Empowerment (ρ= 0.70), both belonging to the same sub-dimension ‘Autonomy’. Self-
Esteem is also correlated with Tangible Aid (ρ= 0.66) and Information Support (ρ=
0.67), although these last two relations are not as strong as that previously reported.
Results thus highlight Empowerment within Autonomy and Self-Esteem, Tangible Aid
and Information Support in the context of Friendship, making it clear that these are the
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 251
Table 4. Correlations between LCBS-ALT dimensions and sub-dimensions.
Spearman coefficient LCBS-ALT Self-determination Empowerment Emotional support Self-esteem Tangible aid Information support
ρLCSB-ALT 1.000 0.570** 0.789** 0.540** 0.821** 0.769** 0.832**
AUTONOMY Self-determination 0.570** 1.000 0.700** 0.147* 0.350** 0.233** 0.291**
empowerment 0.789** 0.700** 1.000 0.266** 0.529** 0.408** 0.503**
FRIENDSHIP Emotional support 0.540** 0.147* 0.266** 1.000 0.421** 0.339** 0.500**
Self-esteem 0.821** 0.350** 0.529** 0.421** 1.000 0.664** 0.671**
Tangible aid 0.769** 0.233** 0.408** 0.339** 0.664** 1.000 0.658**
Information support 0.832** 0.291** 0.503** 0.500** 0.671** 0.658** 1.000
** Correlation is significant at 0.01 (2-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at 0.05 (2-tailed).
252 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
biopsychosocial dimensions which are most associated with beliefs which individuals with
disabilities hold when participating in accessible tourism.
Also, for the domain of LCSS-ALT, all dimensions are highly correlated (Table 5).
Interestingly, Companionship and Palliative Strategy show a robust association in stat-
istical terms, with ρ= 0.73. Results suggest that when people with disabilities participate in
tourism activities, they develop coping strategies that are perfectly connected to each
other, including Companionship, Palliative and Positive Mood strategies.
Correlational analysis of both scales (LCBS-ALT and LCSS-ALT) confirm the validity
of the adjustments made, with strong associations between multiple selected items and
between different dimensions and sub-dimensions assessing stress-coping.
Specifically, it was possible to confirm hypothesis H1 and thereby specify additional
benefits of participation in leisure tourism for individuals with a disability, since
tourism participation showed a clearly positive effect on all biopsychosocial dimensions
analysed in the LCS (regarding both beliefs and strategies), considering univariate and cor-
relational analysis results. Of note are the results of the correlation analysis, indicating a
strong and robust relationship between all sub-dimensions of LCBS-ALT, except for
slightly weaker correlations for the Self-Determination and Emotional Support sub-
dimensions and all dimensions of LCSS-ALT, only slightly weaker in the case of Palliative
Strategy, suggesting the reinforcement of its measurement (e.g. by increasing the number
of items related to each).
The results described above and Iwasaki and Mannell’s(2000) theoretical framework
allow us to conclude that accessible leisure activities positively influence coping beliefs
and strategies (H1a and H1b), which in turn positively affect the various biopsychosocial
dimensions of individuals with disabilities (H1). As suggested by Bos, McCabe, and
Johnson (2015), experiential learning occurring in a holiday environment stands out in
the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Thus, the capacity of coping may be learnt
through leisure tourism experiences, which should be accessible to as many people as poss-
ible. Given that this group of individuals still reveals serious financial and societal con-
straints, and that social tourism represents millions of people and is one of the most
relevant and promising niches (Bélanger & Jolin, 2011), the implications of these findings
for social tourism policies are undeniable.
On the whole, these results reinforce the validity of the LCS-ALT measurement instru-
ment proposed here, and also confirm the significance of tourism for the disabled popu-
lation in the domain of stress-coping. This suggests a call for corresponding social tourism
action yielding the health and social inclusion benefits so urgently needed by this oft-neg-
lected and clearly disadvantaged population group.
Besides, bearing in mind that the focus of this research is a population with very specific
intrinsic characteristics, it is imperative to assess the variation of coping beliefs and
Table 5. Correlation between LCSS-ALT dimensions.
Spearman coefficient LCSS-ALT Companionship Palliative strategy Positive mood
ρLCSS-ALT 1.000 0.902** 0.912** 0.712**
Companionship 0.902** 1.000 0.730** 0.540**
Palliative strategy 0.912** 0.730** 1.000 0.508**
Positive mood 0.712** 0.540** 0.508** 1.000
** Correlation is significant at 0.01 (2-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at 0.05 (2-tailed).
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 253
strategies depending on the type of disability and the socio-demographic and economic
profile of the case study population. Thus, through bivariate analyses relating dimensions
and sub-dimensions of LCBS-ALT and LCSS-ALT with the variables (a) type of disability,
(b) gender, (c) marital status, (d) parenthood, (e) qualifications and (f) income, it was
possible to confirm hypothesis H2.
Factors conditioning the impact of coping beliefs and strategies through tourism
for persons with disability
In order to assess the impact of a series of profiling variables on responses to the LCBS-
ALT and LCSS-ALT variables, we initially tested ANOVA assumptions of normal distri-
bution and homoscedasticity. As none of the assumptions were verified, we opted for the
non-parametric alternatives: Kruskall–Walllis and Mann–Whitney Utest for verifying the
relationship between a dichotomous variable (if two categories, Mann–Whitney U,If
more, Kruskall–Wallis) and the scale variables, i.e. to compare two or more independent
samples regarding the ordinal scale variable. For purposes of interpretation, only results
with a 5% significance level are considered.
In the following sub-sections, Mann–Whitney Uand Kruskall–Wallis test values are
presented, with significance values and, finally, global means of ranks revealing the level
of agreement (in brackets), for analysing the relationship between the coping belief and
strategy scales and: (a) type of disability, (b) gender, (c) marital status, (d) parenthood,
(e) qualifications and (f) income.
(a) Type of disability
The Kruskal–Wallis test showed that LCBS-ALT is influenced by respondents’type of dis-
2 (2) = 21.45; p= 0.00), in its sub-dimensions of Information Support (X
(2) = 8.72; p= 0.01), Self-Determination (X
2 (2) = 13.13; p= 0.00), Empowerment
2 (2) = 14.43; p= 0.00), Self-Esteem (X
2 (2) = 30.53; p= 0.00) and Tangible Aid
2 (2) = 38.94; p= 0.00).
The Dunn test for non-parametric pairwise multiple comparisons based on rank sums
permitted the identification of the exact position of significant differences (Marôco, 2010).
The Dunn tests for LCBS-ALT as a whole indicate significant statistical differences (p<
0.05) between hearing and visual impairment and between hearing and motor impair-
ment. No significant differences between visual and motor impairment were found.
Specifically, for both Autonomy sub-dimensions (Self-Determination and Empower-
ment) individuals with motor disability show a higher Mean Rank value (159.14 for
Self-Determination, 159.40 for Empowerment), meaning that they are the ones who
agree most with achieving higher levels of autonomy through accessible leisure tourism,
when compared to those with hearing impairment. Considering the sub-dimensions
Emotional Support, Self-esteem, Tangible Aid and Information Support, all within the
Friendship dimension, the Dunn test shows that there are differences in the sub-dimen-
sion Self-Esteem, where individuals with a motor disability show higher levels of agree-
ment (162.37), when compared to those with hearing impairment. In the sub-
dimensions Tangible Aid and Information Support, people with visual impairment
show higher Mean Rank values (162.27 for Tangible Aid, 160.69 for Information
Support) when compared to those with hearing impairment (Mean rank of 77.76 and
254 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
115.25, respectively), revealing higher levels of agreement to the corresponding support
received from travel mates by those with visual impairment.
LCSS-ALT is also influenced by disability typology (X
2 (2) = 18,43, p< 0.001), but
Dunn tests only present significant statistical differences (p< 0.05) between motor and
hearing impairments in the sub-dimension Positive Mood. As indicated by the mean
rank values, individuals with motor impairment are those showing stronger agreement
with the positive effects associated with mood (161.18 versus 159.10).
As far as gender is concerned, it was found that neither LCBS-ALT nor its dimensions
show any significant statistical difference. Thus, gender apparently does not impact
leisure coping beliefs.
Leisure coping strategies assessed by LCSS-ALT, on the contrary, reveal higher mean
values for women (M= 3.61; SD = 0.69) compared with their male peers (M= 3.43; SD
= 0.74) and differences were statistically significant (U= 9894.00; MW = 24772.00; p=
0.04). Results demonstrated significant differences for the dimensions of Companionship
(U= 9546.50; W= 24424.50; p= 0.01) and Palliative Strategy (U= 9932.00; W=
24810.00; p= 0.05), where women apparently perceive more benefits in stress-coping
through accessible leisure tourism than men.
(c) Marital status
The variable ‘marital status’only affects the Information Support sub-dimension in
2 (3) = 10.03; p= 0.02). Dunn tests reveal significant statistical differ-
ences (p< 0.05) between married and single respondents, with single individuals agreeing
the most with the effects provided by the Information Support sub-dimension (Mean
Rank = 163.42 versus 130.27 for married individuals). Single individuals with disabilities
may lack the consistent support of a partner, therefore feeling the need of information
support more intensely when considering stress reduction through leisure tourism.
Likewise, LCSS-ALT is also influenced by the marital status of respondents: X
= 25.34; p< 0.001. Results pointed out statistically significant differences (p< 0.001) in
LCSS-ALT between the categories ‘single’and ‘married’, with unmarried individuals
again presenting a higher Mean Rank value (168.35) when compared to married respon-
dents (111.99). They correspondingly agree most with the effects associated with coping
strategies through leisure tourism, particularly in terms of Companionship (Mean
Rank = 166.99) and Palliative Strategy (Mean Rank = 169.68).
On average, LCBS-ALT shows statistically significant differences (U= 7297.00; W=
11125.00; p= 0.00) between respondents without children (M= 3.91; SD = 0.51) and
those with children (M= 2.69; SD = 0.56), in its sub-dimensions: Empowerment (U=
7721.50; W= 11549.50; p= 0.05). Self-Esteem (U= 8103 50; W= 12068.50; p= 0.00)
and Information Support (U= 6451.50; W= 10279.50; p= 0.01) all revealing the same
direction. That is, those without children perceive more benefits from accessible
tourism in the mentioned dimensions, particularly regarding enhancement of autonomy
as well as the role of travel mates presenting information support to these respondents.
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 255
Similarly, LCSS-ALT reveals higher mean values among respondents without children
(M= 3.60; SD = 0.70) compared to respondents with children (M= 3.28; SD = 0.72) and
differences were statistically significant (U= 6935.50; W= 10763.50; p< 0.001), especially
in the dimensions of Companionship and Palliative Strategy (U= 7042.00; W=
10870.00; p< 0.001 and U= 6909.50; W= 10737.50; p< 0.001, respectively), with no rel-
evant difference visible for the Positive Mood dimension.
Results of this analysis may be related to the previous results regarding marital status,
with an active role in both marriage and parenthood suggesting a distinct general structure
of daily life together with the partner and rest of close family. This probably also impacts
on daily leisure and the consequent increased meaning of leisure tourism for those lacking
such a daily family structure.
No statistically significant differences in terms of education level could be found either for
LCBS-ALT or for LCSS-ALT and respective sub-dimensions.
Income influences LCBS-ALT (X
2 (8) = 18.34. p= 0.02) i.e. in at least one of the salary
levels the scale distribution is statistically different in a significant way. Income also sig-
nificantly influences the Information Support and Empowerment sub-dimensions
2 (8) = 19.30. p= 0.01 and X
2 (8) = 22.74. p= 0.00, respectively.
Dunn tests confirm the statistically significant inequalities (p< 0.05) in LCBS-ALT
(globally) and show specifically that individuals with the lowest level of income (those
within wage category ‘Less than 240 €’) present a higher mean rank value for the whole
LCBS-ALT (p= 158.41) and for the two mentioned sub-dimensions (Mean Rank =
162.69 for Information Support; Mean Rank = 157.74 for Empowerment). This means
that respondents with lower incomes agree the most with the general beneficial effects
suggested by LCBS-ALT, particularly regarding the effects of the sub-dimensions Infor-
mation Support and Empowerment.
LCSS-ALT is also influenced by income X
2 (8) = 24.76. p= 0.00, particularly for the
Companionship and Palliative Strategy dimensions. Results show that individuals with
the lowest incomes (<240 €) are those with higher mean rank values considering the
whole LCSS-ALT (158.41), as well as the Companionship (161.99) and Palliative Strategy
(169.57) dimensions. These individuals again show most agreement with the general
effects of coping strategies through leisure tourism reflected in LCSS-ALT and specifically
regarding its sub-dimensions Companionship and Palliative Strategy.
Zenko and Sardi (2014) claim the usual research approach to people with special needs
in the context of social tourism is too one-sided and recommend a more substantial and
holistic methodology to uncover this population groups’particular needs, benefits derived
from and attitudes towards participation in tourism. Accordingly, results showed that
coping beliefs of individuals with disabilities in accessible leisure tourism contexts vary
according to the type of disability, marital status, parenthood and income, while neither
gender nor educational background influence this category (coping beliefs) as a whole.
As far as the sub-dimensions of Autonomy (Self-Determination and Empowerment)
are concerned, which vary between hearing and motor impairment, it was found that indi-
viduals with physical disability were those who agreed most with the positive effects
256 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
suggested in this dimension. These results are justified, as people with mobility difficulties
tend to be subject to greater physical accessibility constraints and dependence on others to
perform daily life activities, unlike deaf people, who face mainly communication barriers.
Hence, Autonomy is a factor of greater importance for individuals with physical disabil-
ities. Considering the Friendship sub-dimension, it is important to highlight Self-esteem,
Tangible Aid and Information Support, with variations among individuals with hearing
and motor impairments and between individuals with hearing and visual impairment.
Self-esteem is more valued by people with motor disability, and the Tangible Aid and
Information Support is more relevant for individuals with visual impairment. This vari-
ation is also understandable, as individuals with motor impairment will be those, whose
disability is more visible, and therefore tend to be the ones who need to work on
Self-Esteem the most. In turn, Tangible Aid and Information Support will be particularly
relevant for blind people, as the simple impossibility of assessing visual cues from sur-
roundings in an unfamiliar environment may trigger a stressful situation.
Marital status only influences the sub-dimension Information Support among single
versus married people and is more significant for single individuals, while married indi-
viduals apparently do not value this aspect so much or are less concerned about it, possibly
due to confidence in their partner. Similarly, and probably related to marital status, par-
enthood (having children or not) affects coping beliefs in general and, in particular, the
Empowerment, Self-Esteem and Information Support sub-dimensions, since individuals
without children may be more concerned with these leisure coping beliefs, as they are
less integrated in a family structure and therefore more exposed to corresponding travel
Finally, considering income, it appears that those with lower incomes (less than 240€
per month) are the ones that agree the most with the effects of coping beliefs in the acces-
sible leisure tourism context, especially regarding the Empowerment and Information
Support sub-dimensions. This result is consistent with other studies suggesting that
people from lower social classes would have greater willingness to participate in and be
likely to derive greater benefits from leisure activities (Iwasaki, 2006; Mannell &
Kleiber, 1997). This should be even more true for leisure in a tourism context, which is
less available and thus more valued by poorer population groups, as found for low-
income families (Lima, 2017) and also for many Portuguese individuals with disability,
subject to social exclusion in diverse life spheres (Kastenholz et al., 2015).
Results also reveal that coping strategies for people with disabilities in the accessible
leisure tourism context, as opposed to coping beliefs, vary within all defined socio-demo-
graphic categories, suggesting more heterogeneity of responses to the scales reporting
actual travel challenges and how people coped with them in contrast to more general
beliefs and attitudes regarding travel and tourism.
In general, results suggest that the proposed stress-coping model is valid in the leisure
tourism context for people with physical and sensory disability. Therefore, also confirming
other studies, there is strong evidence for assuming that individuals with disabilities
develop coping beliefs and strategies through leisure tourism, reorganizing and reinforcing
their internal resources, which allows them to handle, control and manage stressful situ-
ations, with obvious positive impacts on their overall well-being (Iwasaki & Schneider,
2003; Iwasaki, MacTavish, & MacKay, 2005; Zuzanek et al., 1998). These results also
suggest the close link between accessible leisure tourism and social tourism, since
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 257
tourism was identified as an important tool for health, rehabilitation and social inclusion
of persons with a disability, a generally marginalized group (Kastenholz et al., 2015). In
this context, tourism may boost health benefits within combined tourism-rehabilitation
programmes, as rehabilitation aims to enhance and restore functional ability and
quality of life to those with impairments or disabilities, maximizing independence in
activities of daily living (Kleiber et al., 2008; Mactavish & Iwasaki, 2005). Also, Carneiro
et al. (2013) stress the potential of social tourism for generating important social
beneﬁts for persons with disabilities. Several other studies corroborate the potential of
social tourism for enhancing social inclusion, health and well-being, as in the case of
social tourism programmes directed to the elderly (Eusébio, Carneiro, Kastenholz, &
Alvelos, 2016,2017) or to young people (Foster & McCabe, 2015), with positive effects
shown between tourist experiences and individual as well as social outcomes. Thus, con-
sidering both the social and therapeutic perspectives, one may suggest personal and social
well-being as a final goal, summarizing the interpretations given to coping beliefs or strat-
egies used by people with disabilities, within a social and leisure tourism context. Conse-
quently, hypothesis H3 is confirmed, since stress-coping rebalances and harmonizes
resources of people with physical and sensory disability, positively influencing their
Briefly, our results from both the literature review and empirical research respond to the
proposed conceptual model and research objectives, as follows:
1. The LCS can be used in the context of accessible leisure tourism with the necessary
adaptations, serving as a basis for assessing and interpreting the biopsychosocial
dimensions of stress-coping developed by people with disabilities.
2. Coping beliefs associated with accessible leisure tourism are strongly related to biopsy-
chosocial dimensions such as Autonomy, especially in its Empowerment sub-dimen-
sion, and Friendship, with proven emphasis on Self-Esteem in all types of disability;
3. Coping strategies developed during participation in accessible leisure tourism promote
several biopsychosocial dimensions: Companionship, Palliative Strategy and Positive
Humour, underlining Positive Mood as the dimension most valued by all individuals,
regardless of their type of disability;
4. Coping beliefs and strategies associated with accessible leisure tourism apparently
strengthens skills and capabilities of individuals with motor and sensory disability to
handle, control and manage stress, supporting the rebalancing and harmonization of
their personal and social resources, positively contributing to their health and global
These final conclusions suggest theoretical and practical implications for social
inclusion-enhancing policies, specifically through accessible social tourism programmes,
so as to enhance the opportunity of the disabled population of gaining new sources of
stress-coping, empowerment and social inclusion through means of accessible leisure
tourism. Social tourism initiatives thus seem desirable, increasing disadvantaged
groups’participation in tourism activities (Eusébio et al., 2016,2017; Kastenholz
258 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.
et al., 2015). The theoretical evolution of the concepts involved in this debate as well as
empirical evidence is as necessary here as progress of social awareness and correspond-
ing social policies leading to increased accessible leisure tourism opportunities in prac-
tice (Kastenholz et al., 2015).
The main theoretical implications of the present study are: (i) clarification of the
stress-coping phenomenon in the accessible leisure tourism context, particularly in
terms of benefits or positive impacts on the development of biopsychosocial resources
for individuals with motor and sensory disability; (ii) identification of social benefits
as one of the main benefits of accessible leisure tourism; (iii) recognition of accessible
leisure tourism as the preferred coping response for people with physical and sensory
disability, through social dimensions, such as enhancement of Friendship and
Some practical contributions of the present research project are: (i) enhanced awareness
of the universal right to participation in tourism, including people with disabilities; (ii)
increased general awareness of the added value and benefits of accessible leisure
tourism for social inclusion; (iii) systematization of the biopsychosocial dimensions that
are positively influenced by accessible leisure tourism, which could serve as a basis for
planning new therapeutic interventions for the rehabilitation of individuals with physical
and sensory disability; (iv) understanding accessible leisure tourism as a management
model for the development of innovative social tourism products, based on social inte-
gration and promotion of health and well-being, in order to improve the destination’s
differentiation and competitiveness (Kastenholz et al., 2012). Accessible leisure tourism
as a social tourism activity was shown to improve not only participants’health but also
to promote positive effects for socio-economic development of destinations (Eusébio, et
al., 2016; Vinogradova, Larionova, Suslova, Povorina, & Korsunova, 2015). Overall
beneﬁts resulting from social tourism are definitely of utmost importance for consequent
policy development (Eusébio et al., 2016,2017; Kastenholz et al., 2015).
Despite the relevance and timeliness of this paper to the progress of knowledge in
tourism, some limitations and constraints of this study must be acknowledged. Firstly,
the type of population studied here implies sample access constraints, since people with
disabilities are a niche population in Portugal, relatively excluded from social life
(Kastenholz et al., 2015), with relatively few qualifications, imposing difficulties in acces-
sing a large number of respondents and implementing complex survey instruments with a
certain level of abstraction. Secondly, constraints regarding the types of disability made
data collection (frequently dependent on the availability of helpful intermediaries) diffi-
cult, involving delays in the survey process. Lastly, the variety of disabilities still leads to
obstacles related to the need to adapt investigation techniques and tools, ideally requiring
adapted research approaches.
Being conscious that limitations may turn into challenges to enhance knowledge and
understanding of the investigated theme, we suggest the creation and validation of tools
suited to different types of disability, which promote more a robust, consistent and
proper assessment of the impact of tourism in relieving stress and consequently in pro-
moting well-being and quality of life for the population with disabilities, in accordance
with the heterogeneity of the group of individuals with disabilities (Figueiredo, Eusébio,
& Kastenholz, 2012).
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 259
The results presented also alert us to the need for further studies to more clearly
examine cultural, contextual and disability-based differences of the group of individuals
studied here. Moreover, it would be of utmost interest to understand the differences
between disabled individuals experiencing leisure tourism in the context of social
tourism programmes and the general population. Also, the role of therapeutic intervention
policies for individuals with disabilities in the context of rehabilitation deserves further
study, so as to better understand and stimulate the potential of concerted action of all
those involved in decision-making processes, either in tourism, social or health sectors.
According to Diekmann and McCabe (2011), a strong European policy for social
tourism could be the answer, through the implementation of an inclusive system,
beyond the economic framework mainstream. We subscribe to Minnaert, Maitland, and
Miller’s(2006,2009,2011) contention that social tourism will not provide benefits spon-
taneously, since welfare agents need to be aware of their role in the process and to know
exactly how they may encourage the desired outcomes. Continuous research enhancing
our understanding and providing action-relevant orientation in the field is still needed.
Today, accessible tourism organizations depend on state intervention together with the
voluntary sector, with its conception of ‘social tourism’supported by taxes and/or enabled
by charities and volunteers (Walton, 2013, p. 48). However, in order to reach the required
level of social tourism development, structural, legislative, institutional and strategic
aspects of public decision-making need to be considered (Vinogradova et al., 2015). In
this context, La Placa and Corlyon (2014) suggest an interesting bottom-up development
approach, through the introduction of social tourism at the local and community level,
where local stakeholders and communities collaborate in social tourism partnerships
and networks. In conclusion, independently of the political and destination context, this
research paves the way to a new area of interest in the field of accessible tourism: the
role of accessible leisure tourism in stress-coping of individuals with a physical and
sensory disability. Emphasizing the potential of tourism as an effective means to
promote social inclusion, health and well-being of individuals with disabilities, we argue
that this potential should be implemented for every age group from childhood to old
age. Thereby, accessible leisure tourism can contribute to primary prevention, avoidance
of stress, anxiety, depression, health problems in general, and to secondary prevention,
promoting rehabilitation. All these benefits should be understood as relevant for both
the disabled individual’s personal well-being and that of society overall.
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
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LCS-ALT: Leisure Coping Scales in the context of Accessible Leisure Tourism
LCBS-ALT: Leisure Coping Beliefs Scale in the context of Accessible Leisure Tourism
Autonomy Self-Determination lcbs2 Tourism provides opportunities to regain a sense of freedom
lcbs5 Tourism is a self-determined activity for me
Empowerment lcbs 4 I gain feelings of personal control in tourism
lcbs11 What I do within tourism allows me to feel good about myself
lcbs15 I am able to openly express who I am in my tourism time
lcbs19 The things I do within tourism help me gain confidence
lcbs26 My tourism participation enhances my self-concept
eccl30 Opportunities to express myself in tourism activities enhance my self-concept
Friendship Emotional support l lcbs7 My travel companions listen to my private feelings
lcbs28 I feel emotionally supported by my travel companions
lcbs29 I lack emotional support from my travel companions
Self-Esteem lcbs1 My travel companions help me feel good about myself
lcbs10 My travel companions hold me in high esteem
lcbs21 I’m respected by my travel companions
lcbs24 I feel that I’m valued by my travel companions
Tangible aid lcbs12 When I need to borrow something, my travel companions will lend it to me
lcbs14 If I need extra hands for doing tasks, I can turn to my travel companions
lcbs16 My travel companions would lend me money if necessary
eccl25 Most of my travel companions are happy to take care of my house
(apartment), children, or pets when I am away
lcbs3 My travel companions assist me in deciding what to do
lcbs18 My travel companions give me advice when I am in trouble
lcbs20 My travel companions often provide me with useful information
lcbs23 I can talk to my travel companions when I am not sure what to do
JOURNAL OF POLICY RESEARCH IN TOURISM, LEISURE AND EVENTS 263
LCSS-ALT: Leisure Coping Strategies Scale in the context of Accessible Leisure Tourism
Companionship lcss5 Socializing in tourism was a means of managing stress
lcss7 I dealt with stress through spending tourism time with my friends
lcss8 Engaging in social tourism was a stress-coping strategy for me
lcss18 One of my strategies to deal with stress was participation in social tourism
lcss3 I engaged in a tourism activity to temporarily get away from the problem
lcss4 Escape through tourism was a way of coping with stress
lcss9 Tourism was an important means of keeping myself busy
lcss11 Engagement in tourism allowed me to gain a fresh perspective on my problem(s)
lcss14 By escaping from the problem through tourism, I was able to tackle my problem(s) with
lcss17 I took a brief break through tourism to deal with the stress
Positive mood lcss1 Tourism helped me feel better
lcss6 I gained a positive feeling from tourism
lcss10 I maintained a good mood within tourism
lcss16 Tourism helped me manage my negative feeling
264 A. F. A. MOURA ET AL.