PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a modified judo training program on psychosocial health in both typically developing (TD) and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) using a mixed-methods approach. METHODS: The sample consisted of 5 children with ASD and 5 TD children (age=8-11yrs) who participated in 10 sessions of a modified judo program during their typical physical education time for school. Psychosocial factors (enjoyment, perceived competence, benefits of PA) were assessed at baseline and post intervention, with completion of all measures dependent upon the level of comfort expressed by the participant. At the end of the program, children took part in focus group discussions centered around their experience with the program, while key school staff participated in semi-structured interviews based on their observations of the program. All focus group discussions and interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. RESULTS: Quantitative results for pre and post psychosocial measures showed no significant differences existed between PA self-efficacy (p=.99), PA enjoyment (p=.6), and barriers to PA (p=.27). Qualitative results revealed that the majority of the participants found the program to be enjoyable, with partner centered activities being particularly fun. Suggestions for improvement included increasing the duration and frequency of the judo classes. All children reported a desire to continue participating in the judo classes. Findings from staff interviews indicated that school staff observed improvements in psychosocial health and behavior both immediately following a judo class, and throughout the intervention period. Increased self-confidence was mentioned by all participating school staff members. CONCLUSION: Despite the lack of significant quantitative findings, psychosocial benefits were observed in both TD children and children with ASD, with all participants reporting their desire to continue with the program. Future studies should examine the psychosocial benefits in a judo-training program in larger sample of children over longer durations.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Garcia, Jeanette M.


Fukuda, David H.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Educational and Human Sciences

Degree Program

Sport and Exercise Science


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date