Participation

Research on the relationship between participation in childhood, adolescence and lifelong participation, and the impacting factors.

This page contains research on two broad areas:

The relationship between childhood and adolescent participation and life-long participation.
Factors that facilitate or constrain participation, especially among young people.

Tracking physical activity and fitness in men from age 14 to 40 (Belgium, 2004)

Authors

Beunen, GP; Lefevre, J; Philippaerts, RM; Delvaux, K; Thomis, M; Claessens, AL; Vanreusel, B; Lysens, R; Eynde, BV and Renson, R

Date

2004

Keywords

Physical activity; sport; adolescents; adults; life-long participation; determinants.

Country of research

Belgium

Summary of findings

This is a longitudinal study of 166 Belgian males followed from 1969 to 1996 (aged 14-40). It tested the hypothesis that adolescent indicators of physical activity, physical fitness, anthropometric dimensions, fatness, biological indicators and family characteristics contribute to the variance in indicators of physical activity at 40 years of age.

Total activity counts, researched by accelerometry, were used as objective indicators of physical activity and the correlates were adolescent sports participation, parental socio-economic status (education/profession/degree of urbanisation) and parental sports participation. Adolescent physical characteristics included body dimensions, maturity indicators and fitness scores.

At 40 two indicators of physical fitness were used: self-reported activity and an activity counter using transaxial accelerometry for four consecutive days.

The findings include low associations between adult physical activity and adolescent body dimensions, fitness items, sports practice and socio-cultural and demographic factors. Higher associations were recorded when extreme physical activity groups are controlled. Somatic dimensions, fitness characteristics, sports participation and socio-cultural/demographic factors all contribute to differentiation between adult upper and lower activity groups.

At 14 years body dimensions and fitness characteristics were correlated with physical activity at 40 years. At 16 and 18 years sports participation of boys was also a significant predictor for most activity indices. Also at these age levels, body dimensions, fitness characteristics and socio-cultural and demographic factors showed small associations. Perhaps surprisingly smaller body dimensions and lower fitness levels during adolescence were characteristic of more active adults - active adult men are characterised by later biological maturity and smaller body size in adolescence.

However, between 14 and 40 years past sports practice does not contribute to broader physical activity behaviour. The higher degree of urbanisation of residence, the higher socio-economic status of the father and the activity levels of one or both parents are associated with higher adult physical activity levels.

They calculate that adolescent somatic dimensions, sports participation, fitness scores and parental socio-cultural characteristics and parental sports contribute to a small-to-moderate extent to the contrast between high and low active adults.

Methodology

Longitudinal survey

Source of reference

Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 2004, 36(11), 1930-1936

Web reference

http://www.acsm-msse.org

Factors in sports take-up among adolescents (Greece, 2006)

Authors

Papaioannou, A; Bebetsos, E; Theodorakis, Y; Christodoulidis, T and Kouli, O

Date

2006

Keywords

Determinants, goal orientation, perceived competence, motivation, adolescents.

Country of research

Greece

Summary of findings

This Greek 14 month longitudinal study of 882 11-17 year old pupils collected data in three waves on the relationship between sport and exercise participation and goal orientations (task or ego), perceived athletic competence and intrinsic/extrinsic motivation in physical education.  The article begins by reviewing existing research on these issues and concludes that the dominance of cross-sectional research means that there is little evidence about the prospective effects of perceived athletic competence and goal orientation in exercise in adolescence.  The study, via the use of structural equation modelling, sought to explore the extent to which each of the cognitive-affective variables is a cause or effect of participation in sport and exercise.  The study examined the effects of perceived competence and task orientation on intrinsic orientation and the extent to which their effects are mediated through intrinsic motivation.  The study also explored the extent to which the interactions between task and ego orientation, between perceived competence and ego orientation and between perceived competence and task orientation had any impact on sport and exercise involvement.

Data were collected via interviewer-administered questionnaires in weeks 3-5 of the academic year, 3-6 weeks before the end of the academic year and seven months after the second measurement point.  Although the study started with 4,432 pupils because of wastage and limitations on matching the study sample was reduced to 882.  Data were collected on task and ego orientation, perceived athletic competence and frequency of participation in vigorous activity.  The findings indicate that perceived athletic competence, task orientation and intrinsic motivation in physical education are determinants of participation in sport and exercise; ego orientation does not determine sport and exercise involvement, but is a temporary effect of sport and exercise involvement; perceived athletic competence strongly influences future participation; involvement in sporting activities has positive effects on perceived athletic ability; task orientation is an important predictor of involvement in sport and exercise; task orientation and perceived competence determine intrinsic motivation, which has a positive impact on physical activity involvement; the reduction in young people's motivation by age may reflect a view of athletic ability as a fixed entity and this needs to be countered via a view of it as a malleable quality dependent on effort.

The authors point to certain limitations with the study: the high attrition rate and no way of knowing if this influenced the results; present conclusions cannot be applied to young people who are primarily involved in non-competitive exercise settings.  They conclude that physical education and sports policies should aim to foster perceived athletic competence, task orientation and intrinsic motivation in physical education with a downplaying of ego orientation.

Methodology

Longitudinal study; survey data.

Source of reference

Journal of Sports Sciences, 24(4), 367-382

Web reference

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/02640414.asp

Review of links between playing sport in childhood and young adulthood (US, 2004)

Authors

Perkins, D; Jacobs, JE; Barber, BL and Eccles, JS

Date

2004

Keywords

Physical activity; sports; participation; children; adolescents; adults; life-long participation; determinants.

Country of research

USA

Summary of findings

Offers a brief review of existing evidence about the relationship between childhood and adolescent physical activity and adult levels of physical activity.  This generally suggests some continuity, although much depends on the time period or which measurement is made.  Research also indicates the importance of considering/controlling for a range of independent variables (e.g. gender; education; social class) also the strength of the relationship is typically low.  This longitudinal study is based on the Michigan study of Adolescent Life Transitions, a postal survey and a sample of 630-411.

(i) the contribution of childhood (aged 12) and adolescent (17) sports participation to sports participation in young adulthood (24).

(ii) the relations between early sports participation and (a) participation in sports and (b) physical fitness in young adulthood (which may not only be achieved via sports participation).

(iii) Gender and environmental factors in childhood (family; socio-economic status (SES); family structures) and young adulthood (educational status; SES; marital status; children).

Participation was measured solely on the basis of respondents' assessment of the time spent on "sport" and (in young adulthood) fitness activities (no details of sport/activity were collected). Compared to low participants (less than 15 minutes per day) those who participated in a medium amount of sports (15-60 minutes per day) were 3.67 times more likely to take part as young adults; high participants (60+ minutes per day) were 8 times more likely to take part as young adults.

With regard to participation in (non-defined) fitness activities, respondents with a college degree/graduate studies were more than twice as likely to take part than those with no post high-school education.  A respondent with a high level of adolescent sports participation were 3.49 times more likely to take part in fitness activities as one with a low level of adolescent sports participation.

Young adult males were twice as likely to take part in sports as females, regardless of level of participation (ie low, medium or high).

The overall conclusions are:

  1. Individuals are not likely to begin participating in sports if they had not participated in the past.
  2. Gender plays a significant role in young adulthood participation in sport, but not in fitness activities.
  3. Education level has a significant role in young adults' fitness activities, but not sports participation.
  4. Childhood participation in sports was found to be a significant predictor of young adulthood participation in sports and physical fitness when adolescent sports participation was removed from the equation.
  5. The authors list a number of limitations:
  6. The data are based on self-reporting.
  7. The definitions of sports participation differ between the waves.
  8. Sample was drawn from one mid-west town with no minority ethnic component in sample.
  9. Inome data suggests that the sample was mostly middle class.
  10. There was a substantial dilution of the sample over time.

Methodology

Longitudinal survey

Source of reference

Youth and Society, 2004, 35(4),495-520

Web reference

http://www.sagepub.com/journal.aspx?pid=69

Links between family income and children's physical activity (England, 2008)

Authors

Voss, LD; Hosking, J; Metcalf, BS; Jeffrey, AN and Wilkin, TJ

Date

2008

Keywords

Determinants, constraints, facilitators, facilities, physical activity

Country of research

England

Summary of findings

This article reports on a study of the EarlyBird prospective cohort study of healthy children at age 7 and 8 (male: 121; female: 93) in the soth-west of England.

The study explored the relationship between parental income, the use of out-of-school sports facilities and the overall physical activity of young people (measured via the use of actigraph accelerometers).

Total weekly physical activity was calculated by summing the accelerometer counts for each 1 minute interval captured during the whole week.  Parents completed questionnaires giving their income (in bands) and reported the child's weekly use of out-of-school facilities for structured physical activity.  The results indicated that both boys and girls from lower-income families attended significantly fewer sessions of structured out-of-school activity than those from wealthier families.

However, the objectively measured total physical activity showed no relationship with income and children from low income families were just as active as those from higher income families.

The authors conclude that poorer young people are not disadvantaged by lack of opportunity and that, by implication, the greater obesity observed in lower-income families is related to something other than physical inactivity.

Lower income children, left to their own devices, achieve levels of high-intensity physical activity to match those who have the supposed advantage of structured activities and sport.  Consequently, although the authors do not contest the many valuable inherent benefits of sport, they cannot find evidence that the provision of additional sports facilities will lead to a rise in overall physical activity.

Methodology

Accelerometry

Source of reference

Child: Care, Health and Development, 34(4), 470-474

Web reference

http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0305-1862&site=1

Links between organised school sport and adult activity (Israel, 2003)

Authors

Kraut, A; Melamed, S; Gofer, D and Froom, P

Date

2003

Keywords

Sport, physical activity, adults; life-long participation; determinants.

Country of research

Israel

Summary of findings

This study of 3,687 male industrial workers examined the association between the organised school age sporting activities and future leisure time physical activity (LTPA), after controlling for a number of potential confounding variables (age; educational level; ancestry; level of religious observance; marital status; blue/white collar occupations; physical workload; work schedules). 

The participants were involved in the Cardiovascular Occupational Risk Factors in Israel Study (CORDIS) in which information was collected via questionnaire on a variety of workplace and personal factors, along with routine blood tests, an electrocardiogram and a brief physical examination. Information was collected on current participation/non-participation in LTPA (including sport, walking, dancing); how often per week and duration; preferred type of activity.

Participants were classified as those who took part at least once a week for 30 minutes or more (n: 766) – an admitted low threshold.  School-aged extra-curricular participation was based on an average recall period of  29.5 years.

Participation in school-aged sport was a strong predictor of LTPA, together with being young and single.  The association with school-aged sport was consistent across marital status, age, smoking, shift work, body mass index and (non) religious observance. 

The authors suggest that the importance of this association is strengthened by the fact that respondents grew up in a wide variety of environments.  Limitations noted by the authors include: reliability/validity of recall of school-aged participation; possible reporting bias by current participants; an unrecognised confounder, such as enjoyment of school sport. 

However, the authors regard their identification of a role for school sport as important.

Methodology

Survey

Source of reference

Medicine and Science in Sport  Exercise, 2003, 35(12), 2038-2042

Web reference

www.acsm-msse.org

Effects of a healthy living centre on physical activity in British Muslim communities (England, 2008)

Authors

Snape, R. and Binks, P.

Date

2008

Keywords

Determinants, physical activity, ethnic minorities

Country of research

England

Summary of findings

This article reports on a small piece of qualitative research in Blackburn (northern England) on the relative effectiveness of a local healthy living centre in increasing levels of physical activity among the south Asian population (especially women).

The research was undertaken via a series of semi-structured interviews with staff, a number of informal discussions with people attending the centre and focus groups with young and older Asian women.

The authors argue that their findings have implications for sports development as the dominant western concepts of sport are insufficiently sensitive to the cultural diversity within South Asian and specifically Muslim communities.

The increase in physical activity via the health centre was explained by a number of factors: early community consultation assisted the development of a range of relevant activities; a higher proportion of south Asian staff than usually found at public leisure centre; an emphasis on health rather than competition and display; strong community orientation which provided both physical and cultural safety (providing relevant activities in a context that permitted the preservation of values, beliefs and self-identity); local provision did not necessitate travel outside the neighbourhood; subtle nuances in the labelling of activities (ego aerobic rather than dance).

Overall, the emphasis on health was viewed as the key legitimating factor and not activity for fun or improving body image. The authors conclude that initiatives originating in the health sector were, when appropriately culturally-oriented, gender segregated and community-based, able to engage the Asian communities effectively.

Methodology

Semi-structured interviews, group discussions

Source of reference

Semi-structured interviews, group discussions

Web reference

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/13606719.asp

The role of school sport in lifelong physical activity (US, 2008)

Authors

Bocarro, J; Kanters, MA; Casper, J and Forrester, S

Date

2008

Keywords

Lifelong participation; determinants, sport, physical activity, school, physical education

Country of research

United States of America

Summary of findings

This article reviews research and theory on youth sport participation (mostly USA) and the role that schools can play in increasing participation rates among school-aged children and establishing the basis for post-school participation.  It suggests that the inclusive philosophy behind intramural sports may be effective in promoting physical activity.  The analysis is informed by leisure repertoire theory which suggests that individuals who develop a wider spectrum of activities at a young age are most likely to continue to participate.  It also draws on a social ecological model to illustrate how it can guide intramural programme development, implementation and evaluation.

The authors provide a brief review of research on the changing nature of youth sports participation.  They draw on research to argue that the decline in youth sport participation is partly related to fewer options being provided for less talented student, increased commuting time to and from school and negative body consciousness among adolescent girls and overweight children.  They quote research on motivations for sports participation which emphasises fun, social aspects and fitness much more than winning.  They suggest that intramural sport is much more able to provide such experiences than the competitive extramural approach.

Drawing on the leisure repertoire approach and associated research they argue that it is not the volume of sporting activity which leads to adult participation but the number of different sports that young people experience.  In this regard they argue that the inclusive multiple sports orientation of intramural sports, which emphasises choice and not compulsion, is best suited to providing these experiences.

Research within the social ecological model emphasises the importance of the social and physical environments in which such sports take place.

The factors in this model include the intrapersonal, the interpersonal (including a positive role for parents), the institutional/organisational context, safe community environment and public policy factors (e.g. laws and policies to promote physical activity).

The authors draw on research to argue that programmes which target these multiple levels are more likely to affect long-term change.  They conclude that there is a need for structured physical education curriculum complemented by opportunities via non-competitive intramural programmes for students to practice and test their skills in a variety of freely chosen sports activities is likely to facilitate a lifelong adherence to sport and physical activity.

Methodology

Literature review

Source of reference

Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 27, 155-166

Web reference

http://www.humankinetics.com/JTPE/journalAbout.cfm

Links between physical activity in childhood and adulthood (US, 1999)

Authors

Taylor, WC; Blair, SN; Cummings, SS; Chuan Wun, C and Malina, RM

Date

1999

Keywords

Life-long participation; physical activity; children; adolescents; adults

Country of research

United States of America

Summary of findings

In this retrospective study, 105 males (aged 32-60; 83% had college/advanced degree) completed questionnaires about their current and historic physical activity, their medical history and undertook several fitness tests.

The study evaluated the relationship between specific components of physical activity during childhood and adolescence (individual/team sports, psychosocial factors) and activity and fitness levels in adulthood.

Overall relationships were weak, although there were several potentially interesting directions. Teen skill in physical activity and participating in teams sports during pre-teen years were positively related to adult physical activity, but being forced to exercise was inversely related to adult physical activity. There was no apparent association between level of adult physical activity and type of childhood sports participation (team/individual).

The results are not consistent with the suggestion that participation in individual, 'lifetime', sports (swimming, running, skiing) has more carryover for adult physical activity than team sports participation.

However, the authors advise caution as the study is based on recall of experiences and motivations from 20 or more years ago and is limited to European American males. Nevertheless the results indicate the need for further study.

Methodology

Medical examination and questionnaire data

Source of reference

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1999, 31, (1), 118-123.

Web reference

http://www.acsm-msse.org/

Factors in young people's decisions to enter competitive sport (UK, 2006)

What helps and hinders people becoming more physically active? (UK, 1994)

Authors

MacPhail, a and Kirk, D

Date

2006

Keywords

Determinants, sport, young people, sport clubs, school.

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

This ethnographic study explores approaches to conceptualising and improving pathways in sport by exploring the relevance of the perspective that young people are socialised into sport via a general pattern of initial sampling of a variety of sports, subsequent specialising in a particular sport and eventually investing in training and competition.

As part of a broader piece of research this article explores the key characteristics of the specialising phase including the reduction in the number of  sporting activities, enjoyment and success, the notion of deliberate practice and the influence of family, school and club support on those moving into this phase.

The article is based on ethnographic work and small group interviews undertaken as part of a 2.5 year study with young people age 13-16, some coaches and parents at Forest Athletic Club (a pseudonym) in England's Midlands.

The various interview data are analysed to illustrate characteristics of the specialising phase and where relevant to highlight links with the model of long term athlete development (LTAD), which would characterise this phase and moving from the 'learning to train' to the 'training to train' phase.  The basis of enjoyment in this phase was not as dependent on friends as it had been in the sampling phase, with enjoyment increasingly related to success, skill development and the ability to perform (similar to the LTAD model).

Most enjoyed the new emphasis on structured deliberate practice. Unlike some other findings, the involvement of parents at this stage did not decline.  The coaches helped to develop each individual's self-esteem and enjoyment for athletics by providing appropriate feedback, encouragement and instruction.

The authors note the absence of a systematic approach to identifying and encouraging those who should move from the sampling to the specialising phase.

The authors' policy conclusions are: (i) there is a need for an awareness and acceptance that young people are still likely to be involved in other sport and leisure activities and this may reduce the emphasis on competition recommended by LTAD; (ii) enjoyment is increased if young people are encouraged to experience success in different ways; (iii) competition appears to be the reason for young people becoming more committed; (iv) the support systems of coaches, schools and parents are still valuable in the specialising phase.

Finally, the authors draw on work by the Irish National Coaching and Training Centre which seeks to integrate the lessons derived from the sampling, specialising, investing developmental framework with the LTAD model which seeks to combine player/athlete development with recreational pathways.

Methodology

Ethnography, observation, interviews

Source of reference

Leisure Studies, 25(1), 57-74

Web reference

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/02614367.asp

Effects of school sport experiences on playing adult sport (Canada, 1999)

Authors

Biddle, S

Date

1994

Keywords

Determinants; physical activity; constraints; adults

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

This provides a critical review of international behavioural research approaches to physical activity involvement of adults (16-74) and a critical evaluation of various theories of attitudinal and behavioural change. As a general point the author emphasises the need to develop intrinsic motivations, rather than extrinsic goal setting, to ensure adherence to physical activity. The following theoretical approaches are reviewed:

  1. Attitude-behaviour models
    These include both the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Such models are regarded as useful because they illustrate possible links between attitudes (a particularly strong predictor), social norms, perceived control, intentions and behaviour. However they are also regarded as unidirectional and static, with the best predictions being for intentions rather than behaviour.

  2. The health belief model
    This proposes that people will not seek preventitive behaviours unless they possess at least minimal levels of health motivation and knowledge, view themselves as vulnerable and are convinced of the efficacy of their actions. This is regarded as useful as a unifying social pyschological model of decision-making and has proved to be predictive. However, the model fails to take account of non-social psychological factors and is oriented towards illness rather than health promotion.

  3. Self-perceptions - control
    This emphasises the importance of perceptions of locus of control. Perception of control is widely accepted as an important psychological construct in motivational theories. However, more exercise-specific locus of control scales have suffered from inconsistency of measurement and the relative importance of general and specific beliefs in different types of physical activity settings has not been determined.

  4. Self-perceptions - self-efficacy
    This relates to people's beliefs about their capabilities to undertake certain actions. These have been consistently supported as a predictor of physical activity involvement and sources have been identified as change is possible. However, the role of self-efficacy across a number of different contexts has not been clearly identified.

  5. Self-perceptions - competence
    Perceived competence, automony and self esteem are major factors underpinning intrinsic motivation and there is a strong theoretical base to be tapped by exercise psychologists and health promoters. However perceptions of competence cover many different psychological constructs and there is need for clarification.

  6. Transtheoretical model of behaviour change
    This refers to theories of stages of change which suggest that those attempting self-change move through different stages from contemplation to maintaining change. Research findings support the application of these ideas to exercise provision and counselling. However there is a lack of information on the best ways of moving different types of individuals from stage to stage and the nature of the processes of change.

The author then reviews the various activity targets established in the Health of the Nation and illustrates the potential relevance of the various perspectives to their achievement. In addition, he looks briefly at issues relating to two sub-populations - children and youth and older adults.

The author concludes that we need to know more about the behavioural factors associated with exercise and physical activity and makes the following recommendations:

  1. Consider exercise and physical activity as dynamic behavioural processes in the context of stages of change and life-cycle changes. There is no one theoretical model which is likely to be successful in predicting physical activity for all social groups.

  2. Understand further the factors affecting habitual physical activity and its integration into daily life and how the promotion of physical activity may differ from that of exercise.

  3. Study nature and extent of behavioural issues that may differ between different social and cultural groups.

  4. Integrate key social psychological findings and guidelines into strategies designed to 'market' and promote physical activity.

  5. Prioritise the role of behavioural factors in exercise and physical activity in the education and training of providers.

Appendicies provide summaries of 28 research studies investigating the relationship between attitude, social norms and intention to exercise, 20 studies investigating the locus of control construct in exercise and fitness, 22 studies of self-efficacy and exercise and eight studies of stages of change in exercise. It also provides illustrative case studies.

Methodology

Literature review

Source of reference

In: Killoran, AJ; Fentem, P and Caspersen, C (Eds), Moving on: international perspectives on promoting physical activity, London: Health Education Authority; 1994, 110-148.

Web reference

http://www.hda-online.org.uk/documents/moving_on.pdf

Review of what works in promoting physical activity (US, 2002)

Authors

Curtis, J; McTeer, W and White, P

Date

1999

Keywords

Life-long participation; sport; school sport; adolescents; adults

Country of research

Canada

Summary of findings

This research used a large representative national sample of adult Canadians to explore the relationship between high school sports participation and involvement in sport as adults.

For different age subgroups among men and women, the researchers tested the hypothesis that involvement in intramural and inter-school sport during the high school years contributes to later adult involvement in sport. Adult sport activity has three meaures:

  1. Sport involvement per se
  2. Involvement in an organised setting
  3. Competitive involvement.

The results are consistent with the school experience hypothesis. High school sport involvement, for competitive inter-school activities, is a comparatively strong predictor of adult sport involvement. However, participation in intra-school activity was not a predictor, having little impact compared to no school sport involvement. The effects of high-school involvement persist after controlling for correlated social background factors. The effects of school sport experiences hold across age and gender subgroups.

Although diminished with temporal distance from the high school years, the effects of competitiive high-school involvement nonetheless extend even to respondents aged 40-59 among both genders. However, the authors suggest that more research is needed on the effects of different types of high-school participation, different skill levels, knowledge and interest in sport, the varying effects of different sports and the impact of involvement in community sport.

Methodology

Survey analysis

Source of reference

Sociology of Sport Journal, 1999, 16, 348-365.

Review of key factors in sport take-up (UK, 2006)

Authors

Kahn, EB; Ramsey, LT; Brownson, RC; Heath, GW; Howze, EH; Powell, KE; Stone, EJ; Rajab, MW; Corso, P and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services

Date

2002

Keywords

Determinants; physical activity; facilitators

Country of research

United States of America

Summary of findings

This meta-analysis presents a review of international research (although predominantly from the USA) on the effectiveness of various approaches to  increasing physical activity - informational, behavioural and social and environmental and policy approaches. Minimal effectiveness was defined in terms of changes in physical activity behaviours and aerobic capacity (VO2 max).

The degrees of effectiveness of the various interventions were:

Point-of-decision prompts to encourage stair-use increased percentage of people choosing to take the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator. Tailoring the prompts either by specifying the benefits or appealing to specific populations may increase effectiveness.

Community-wide campaigns based on a multiple intervention approach were effective in increasing levels of physical activity as measured by the percentage of people engaging in physical activity, energy expenditure or other measures of physical activity.

Mass media campaigns. Available studies provide insufficient evidence to assess the effectiveness of such campaigns, when used alone. However, as a component of the effective interventions (community-wide campaigns) they might provide additional benefits.

Classroom-based health education focused on information provision. Insufficient evidence to assess the effectiveness because of inconsistent results.

School-based PE. These approaches used modified curricula and policies to increase the amount of time students spent in moderate or vigorous activity in PE classes. There is strong evidence that this approach is effective in increasing levels of physical activity and improving physical fitness.

College-based health education and PE. Available studies provided insufficient evidence to assess effectiveness.

Classroom-based health education focussed on reducing television viewing and video game playing. Insufficient evidence to assess effectiveness, although there is evidence of a reduction in televison watching and lower levels of adiposity. More research is required into links between reduced time spent watching television and increasing physical activity.

Family-based social support programmes. Insufficient evidence to assess effectiveness because of inconsistent results.

Social support interventions in community settings. Strong evidence that social support is effective in increasing levels of physical activity, as measured by an increase in the percentage of people engaging in physical activity, energy expenditure or other measure of physical activity.

Individually adapted health behaviour change programmes, with social support.  Strong evidence that this approach is effective in increasing levels of physical activity.
Creation of or enhanced access to places for physical activity combined with informational outreach activities. There is strong evidence that such approaches are effective in increasing levels of physical activity. 

Additional information about applicability, other effects, barriers to implementation and further research needs are provided for each of the interventions. Details of the qualifying studies are provided on www.thecommunityguide.org.

The strongly recommended approaches are community-wide health education campaigns, school-based PE and social support in community settings, highlighting the role of multisite, multi-component interventions. Two strongly recommended approaches - individually-adapted health behaviour change and creation of and enhanced access to place for physical activity combined with informational outreach activities - point out the roles that policy and environmental approaches and behavioural and social approaches can play in combatting inactivity.

Methodology

Meta-analysis

Source of reference

American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2002, 22, (4S).

Web reference

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/07493797

Do role models encourage people to play sport? (Australia, 2003)

Authors

Allender, S; Cowburn, G and Foster, C

Date

2006

Keywords

Determinants, adults, children, sport, physical activity.

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

This paper provides a systematic examination of published and unpublished qualitative research studies of UK children's and adults' reasons for participation and non-participation in sport and physical activity.

Papers were access via electronic databases, following up published references and individual contacts for the grey literature.

Review criteria included the extent to which papers:  aimed to explore the participants' experiences of sport and physical activity and reasons for participation or non-participation in sport and physical activity, collected information on participants who lived in the United Kingdom and presented data collected using qualitative methods. From the >1200 papers initially identified, 24 met all inclusion criteria.

The majority of these reported research with young people based in community settings; four were set in GP referral schemes; three in schools; two in leisure centres; one in  a group of three national sports governing bodies.

The article summarises reasons for participation and non-participation under the headings of young children, teenagers and young women, adults and older adults.

Common reasons for participation included weight management, social interaction and fun and enjoyment. Concerns about maintaining a slim body shape motivated participation among young girls. Older people identified the importance of sport and physical activity in staving off the effects of aging and providing a social support network. Barriers to participation included challenges to identity, such as having to show others an unfit body, lacking confidence and competence in core skills or appearing overly masculine.

The authors note that most of the studies lacked a theoretical framework and consequently little theory was generated, thereby limiting a more systematic understanding of reasons for participation/non-participation. This critique applies especially to a lack of understanding of the implication of life-course changes for sports participation.

Methodology

Literature review

Source of reference

Health Education Research, 21(6), 826-835

Web reference

http://her.oxfordjournals.org/

Review of what motivates and deters young people in sport (UK, 2001)

Authors

Payne, W; Reynolds, M; Brown, S and Fleming, A

Date

2003

Keywords

Determinants; sport; role models; physical health

Country of research

Australia

Summary of findings

This review of 95 peer-reviewed articles and interviews with 15 sport and recreation/welfare organisations explores the extent of evidence for the hypotheses that: (i) sports people act as role models and have a positive impact on individuals and the broader community; (ii) there is a link between sporting success and wider health improvements. The authors explore the various theoretical perspectives underpinning the idea that role models can affect attitudes and behaviour:

(i) Social cognitive theory

This suggests that most learning is based on observation and relies to a large extent on the influence of role models. Learning depends on such factors as the characteristics of role models, retention via the use of symbols, motor reproduction processes and motivational processes.

(ii) Self-efficacy theory

The effectiveness of models to influence learners to carry out a particular type of behaviour may depend on the characteristics of the model, their perceived similarity to the learner. Learning will be more likely when the learner perceives that they are capable of carrying out the behaviour (self-efficacy expectancy), think that there is a high probability that the behaviour will result in a particular outcome (outcome expectancy) and if the outcome is desirable (outcome value).

(iii) Social context framework 

This involves interaction and mentoring in which learning occurs within a real live environment.

The range of role models considered is various family members, athletes/celebrities and teachers and the authors note that role model preferences change with developmental stages. Athletes are more likely to act as role models for boys and can provide both positive and negative models of behaviour.

The effects of role models on primary participation is considered and the authors conclude that parents are particularly influential in encouraging children to take part in sport and physical activity (especially those who are also participants). They conclude that, in line with self-efficacy theory, superstars who are dissimilar to role learners are not perceived as effective role models.

Effective modelling in the area of children's motor skill development has produced evidence for the relevance of peer modelling. Children who observe their peers demonstrating skill techniques increase their self-efficacy for learning and cognitive development level.

The few studies identified suggest that the availability of appropriately active people form minority groups could provide a useful role modelling opportunity for culturally diverse people.

The authors provide a selective review of sport role model programmes in Victoria which target different population groups, with varying degrees of interaction between role models and participants. They use a typology developed by MacCallum and Beltman to classify such programmes:

(i) Minimal interaction, with programme based on observation and modelling. The assumption is that the role model is perceived as relevant, has an approach which is consistent with the programme's philosophy, ongoing support and constant reminders of the role model's message are provided.

(ii) Short or longer term interaction via scaffolding learning and feedback. Here it is necessary for role models to relate to young people and display a range of relevant knowledge, skills and personal characteristics. The focus is on purposeful activity, the provision of opportunities for developing independence and the opportunity for support and encouragement of a variety of role models, including peers.

(iii) Development of supportive, longer term, relationships. This approach focuses on the needs of the people involved, with attention paid to the selection and training of mentors and ongoing support.

The overall conclusions are as follows:

(i) Role model programmes should be seen as a continuum from a single exposure to a long term mentoring approach.

(ii) There is ample theoretical evidence to support the idea for conducting role model programs.

(iii) Role model programmes should encompass parents, teachers and other significant adults, as well as celebrities and sports people.

(iv) Role models are not always positive; they can be seen to promote negative social images, beliefs and behaviours.

(v) There are significant gender differences in the way athletes are viewed as role models, with males being more likely to identify with successful athletes while females tend to identify with parents.

(vi) The most effective role model programmes are those that focus on developing a long term, mentor relationship, particularly for individuals from socially disadvantaged groups and "at risk" groups.

(vii) Industry based programmes have shown some promising trends to support the involvement of sports role models in working with young people.

(viii) There was a lack of funding for evaluation in program budgets.

Methodology

Literature review and interview data

Source of reference

Payne, W; Reynolds, M; Brown, S and Fleming, A, Sports role models and their impact on participation in physical activity: a literature review, Victoria: VicHealth; 2003.

An out-of-school programme to promote physical activity (Australia, 2008)

Authors

Rees, R; Harden, A; Shepherd, J; Brunton, G; Oliver, S and Oakley, A

Date

2001

Keywords

Determinants; children; adolescents; physical activity; constraints; barriers; facilitators

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

The systematic review synthesises the research evidence regarding barriers to and facilitators of participation in physical activity among young people (11-16 years).

The review considers only intervention studies and research which elicited the views of young people and provides details of the four evaluation studies and 26 surveys of young people which meet the methodological criteria.

Although there is a lack of good quality evaluations of interventions to promote physical activity, the review concludes that a 'whole school' approach can promote greater physical activity and peer-led initiatives (especially where peers lobby for environmental changes) can be beneficial.

Approaches which could take into account young people's views and require evaluation include: the provision of 'free' diverse activities through after-school clubs and -based activities; improved physical education facilities at school; (e.g. adequate changing facilities and appropriate gym kit); provide young people with choice about the type of physical activity; emphasise fun and social aspects of sport and exercise.

Methodology

Systematic review

Source of reference

Rees, R; Harden, A; Shepherd, J; Brunton, G; Oliver, S  and  Oakley, A, Young people and physical activity: a systematic review of research on barriers and facilitators, Institute of Education, University of London: EPPI-Centre; 2001.

Web reference

http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/EPPIWebContent/hp/reports/physical_activity01/physical_activity.pdf

Why sports clubs are key to greater take-up of sport among boys than girls (Iceland, 2003)

Authors

Lubans, D. and Morgan, P.

Date

2008

Keywords

Determinants, school sport, adolescents

Country of research

Australia

Summary of findings

This article reports on the impact of an Australian eight week extra-curricular school sports programme promoting physical activity among 14-15 year olds – LEAF (Learning to Enjoy Activity with Friends) which promoted lifestyle (walking/riding to school) and lifetime (strength training and aerobics) physical activity.  The study was conducted in three schools using a quasi-experimental design, with the LEAF intervention (n:50) (structured exercise activity; information component focussing on behavioural modification strategies; self-reporting non-organised physical activity/sedentary diary and pedometers worn for four days in pre-and post-intervention periods) and an exercise-only comparison group (n:66) (identical structured activities). The intervention was influenced by social cognitive theory which suggests that behaviour change is influenced by reciprocal interactions between environmental factors, personal factors and attributes of the behaviour itself.  In this context the authors view the use of pedometers as a motivational tool to encourage activity adherence.  The LEAF programme sought to develop the social cognitive approach by addressing issues of the development of practical skills, self-efficacy and outcome expectancy (i.e. developing a desire to achieve positive outcomes and associated goal setting).

Adolescents defined as low active at baseline increased the time spent on non-organised physical activity (although this was not statistically significant), increased their step counts and accumulated significantly more steps than their peers in the comparison group.  However, there was no significant effect on those initially defined as active.  Neither group met the minimum recommended health-related targets for physical activity.

The authors outline a number of limitations with the study: non-random allocation, exclusion of weekend monitoring and lack of long-term follow-up.  Within this context the authors conclude that interventions targeted at low-active adolescents should focus on the promotion of lifetime and lifestyle physical activity using behavioural modifications strategies such as goal setting and activity monitoring.  They suggest that schools need to develop less competitive intramural programmes and to offer more lifetime activities, which generally only involve one or two people and require little organisation.

Methodology

Quasi-experimental design, pedometers

Source of reference

Journal of Sports Sciences, 26(5), 519-529

Web reference

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/02640414.asp

Links between physical activity in childhood and adulthood (Canada, 2003)

Authors

Vilhjalmsson, R and Kristjansdottir, G

Date

2003

Keywords

Determinants; sport; adolescents; boys; girls; sport clubs

Country of research

Iceland

Summary of findings

Based on a representative national sample of 3270 6th,8th and 10th grade students the study found that girls' lower enrolment in organised sports clubs fully accounts for gender differences in frequency of overall physical activity and largely accounts for gender differences in frequency of strenuous activity and weekly hours of overall and strenuous activity.

Girls' higher sport club withdrawal rate accounted for a small but significant part of gender difference in weekly hours of overall activity and frequency of strenuous activity. No evidence was found to suggest that different activity levels of boys and girls in clubs affected gender differences.

Other independent variables (perceived competence of sport achievement, sport and exercise related instruction, physical education experience, social modeling) did not significantly effect observed gender differences beyond the sport club variables.

The authors suggest that the findings illustrate the need to address the different ways which sports clubs seek to enrol and cater for young people (e.g. reduce 'boys sports' image) and there is a need to include more women in managerial and coaching positions. However, the authors point to the need for longitudinal research to assess the direction and size of effects.

Methodology

Survey data

Source of reference

Social Science and Medicine, 2003, 56, 363-374.

Web reference

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/02779536

Links between school sport and adult physical activity (Canada, 2000)

Authors

Thompson, AM; Humbert, ML and Mirwald, RL

Date

2003

Keywords

Life-long participation; physical activity; children; adolescents; adults

Country of research

Canada

Summary of findings

This describes the influence of childhood and adolescent physical activity on adult activity attitudes and behaviours. In-depth, semi-structured, interviews were conducted with 16 men and 15 women from a longitudinal growth and development study and a follow-up investigation 25 years later. Three themes emerged from the men's data: significant others, size and maturation and physical abilities, with clear distinctions among the active, average and inactive.

Active boys who maintained an active or average lifestyle as adults tended to have significant others that supported and/or encouraged their efforts and facilitated participation.They recalled working diligently at developing the skills needed to participate. They recognised lessons learned from sport, had identified themselves as part of an athletic group at school and considered physical activity as important for physical and mental health. Inactive men had not identified themselves as  athletes, did not perceive themselves as physically talented and thought that their lack of size was a barrier. Support from significant others was minimal and parents and teachers were viewed as negative influences and, in general, inactive men noted significantly more barriers than the active ones. The active who became less active developed different attitudes to physical activity and ceased to regard it as a priority.

Among women there was less evidence of tracking of an overall level of physical activity, with few maintaining their level of childhood and adolescent physical activity. The few that maintained their activity levels were supported by significant others and they used activity to control their weight. Those who did not maintain their activity levels were unable to accommodate activity into busy lives (although they also had negative experiences in PE and sport). Those who increased their activity did so to control their weight, with support from partners. Both men and women who reduced activity levels recalled negative experiences and lack of support, especially in adolescence.

The authors conclude with an outline of the implications for physical activity promotion among young people to maximise the potential for life-long participation. (i) The content and  methods of delivery of programmes should be considered to ensure that physical activity is enouraged and enabled among all types of boys and girls

(ii) Teachers and community coaches should be adequately prepared to develop adequate skills in children

(iii) The significance of support for and role modelling of a physically active lifestyle by parents should be emphasised.

(iv) Programmes must be developed to reduce young people's perception of a lack of physical ability and provide diverse experiences to enable choice of activities in adulthood.

Methodology

Semi-structured interview data

Source of reference

Qualitative Health Research, 2003, 13, (3), 358-377.

Young people's views on how to promote sport (UK, 2003)

Authors

Shephard, RJ and Trudeau, F

Date

2000

Keywords

Life-long participation; physical education; children; adolescents; adults

Country of research

Canada

Summary of findings

This article provides a brief review of previous research on short-term dividends of  quality daily physical education and considers the long-term objectives of physical education. It reviews several longitudinal studies of the relationship between school-aged physical activity programmes and adult activity and fitness levels.

They conclude that, at best, interage correlations are weak to moderate. Further, the activites considered have not, in general, been considered for their carry-over potential. The Trois Riveres Study is the only one to have attempted to examine the impact of enhanced physical education on adult behaviour, in which 546 primary school pupils were allocated to experimental (1 hour per day specialist PE) and control (1 period per week) programmes and subjects were contacted at ages 30-35.

The long-term impact on physical activity and health was relatively limited, although experimental subjects had a more favourable attitude towards physical activity and women in this group were still undertaking more physical activity than their peers.

The authors conclude with lessons for future research, including the importance of such factors as the absence of competition, consistent involvement of the entire class and exposure to a wide variety of adapted activities with the potential to carry-over into later life.

Methodology

Systematic review

Source of reference

Pediatric Exercise Science, 2000, 12, 34-50.

Links between playing sport in youth and adulthood (Belgium, 1997)

Authors

MacPhail, A; Kirk, D and Eley, D

Date

2003

Keywords

Adolescents; sport; facilitators; motivation; life-long participation; determinants.

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

This article reports a series of group interviews with 608 14-18 year olds (279 males; 329 females).  All were registered with the Youth Sport Trust as TOP Link participants and most were involved in a sports-related course of study at school. 

The group interviews were undertaken at sports leadership workshops throughout  England.  These were concerned with a single question: "What can be done to help young people participate in sport?". 

A Nominal Group Technique was used in which participants write their responses independently and then vote on the various statements.  One thousand responses were recorded and these were grouped into 5 major categories - people, conditions, resources, climate, attractors. 

The two main categories were conditions (which included school and club provision; pathways; organised events; promotion) and motivational climate, which included social aspects; encouragement; inclusivity. 

The authors highlight the emphasis that the young people placed on inclusivity, especially provision for all abilities. 

They suggest  this indicates support for a motivational climate that fosters work and improvement  (task) rather than one based solely on winning (ego).  Under conditions the authors highlight that in the context of school and club provision respondents wanted more time devoted to PE and sport and wider choice of activities (including modified games and more 'exotic' and less traditional activities).

The authors conclude that the climate of youth sport needs to be diverse, inclusive and task oriented, rather than exclusionary and competitive (ego) oriented.  Competitions need to cater for a wide range of ability and disability.

Methodology

Nominal Group Technique

Source of reference

European Physical Education Review, 2003, 9(1), 57-73

Web reference

http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journal.aspx?pid=105544

The benefits of physical activity in older people (US, 1998)

Authors

Vanreusel, B; Renson, R; Beunen, G; Claessens, AL; Lefevre, J; Lysens, R and Eynde, BV

Date

1997

Keywords

Life-long participation; sport; children; adolescents; adults; men

Country of research

Belgium

Summary of findings

A longitudinal analysis of sports involvement of a sample of males (n:236) from 13 to 35 years of age. Data were collected by standardised questionnaires and checked by personal interviews, with sport involvement measured by time spent (hours per week over a year). The time spent in youth sport is identified as a crucial variable in explaining adult participation, with late adolescent years playing a crucial linking role between youth and adulthood. In general those with a competitive sport profile had both an earlier and higher drop-out rate than those with a recreational sport profile. However, nine different longitudinal profiles of sports involvement were identified, illustrating that sports socialisation/desocialisation processes are ongoing and complex.

Methodology

Longitudinal survey data

Source of reference

International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 1997, 32, (4), 373-387.

Web reference

http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journal.aspx?pid=105601

Can PE in school create physically active adults? (UK, 2002)

Authors

Chodzko-Zaijko, WJ

Date

1998

Keywords

Physical health; physical activity; older adults; psychological well-being; quality of life

Country of research

United States of America

Summary of findings

The review offers summaries of the immediate and long-term physiological, psychological, and social benefits of physical activity for older persons, based on findings from existing research.

The authors recognise that although the majority of physical activity programming for older adults has tended to focus on a relatively small and healthy subgroup of the older adult population, the scientific and medical evidence reviewed clearly demonstrates that participation in regular physical activity is associated with tangible health benefits for almost all older adults.

Research indicates increased cardiovascular efficiency, anti-hypertension effects, increased muscular strength and improved balance. It also illustrates increased psychological well-being, and more positive mood states and reduced anxiety. However, no clear picture emerges about the effects on cognitive performance.

The authors recommend that emphasis is placed on an educational process and increased awareness of the role of physical activity in healthy aging throughout all segments of society, and most importantly, among older people.

Methodology

Review article

Source of reference

Chodzko-Zaijko, WJ, Physical activity and aging: implications for health and quality of life in older persons, Washington: President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; 1998, Research digest series 3, no 4.

Links between youth club sport and adult physical activity (Finland, 2006)

Authors

Daley, AJ

Date

2002

Keywords

Life-long participation; physical activity; physical education; sport; determinants; children; adolescents; adults

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

Via a review of literature this paper attempts to demonstrate a behavioural link between young people's participation in physical education and extra curricular physical activities and subsequent adult exercise behaviour. The article explores a number of themes including the special role of physical education in schools and the evidence relating 'life-long participation'.

(i) Does PE really lead to life-time physical activity participation?

The author notes the shift towards the more inclusive health-related exercise in order to encourage adult participation.

(ii) Extra-curricular activities: after school today, after work tomorrow

The element of choice in extracurricular activities is regarded as potentially important in establishing longer-term participation. However, current low levels of participation indicate that schools may not be offering overly traditional activities.

(iii) Do active young people become active adults?

Although short-term tracking studies have indicated continuity of participation, longer term studies are less conclusive - although positive correlations have been found (with early physical activity decreasing the risk of becoming inactive in adulthood).

 

There is also some evidence to suggest that early physical activity can protect against adulthood obesity and negative health behaviours (e.g. smoking).

The author explores possible determinants of such relationships:
(i) Socialisation and the role of significant others (family, peers, school).

(ii) Positive psychological experiences, including enjoyment, experience of well-being, self-efficacy.

(iii) Motivational climate, with task orientation being more effective than ego-orientation. Mastery should be emphasised rather than performance-orientation.

It ends by exploring possible problems and implications:

(i) The negative image of overly-competitive sport.

(ii) The need for 'all-school' approaches to the promotion of health-related physical activity.

(iii) Staffing constraints on extra-curricular provision.

(iv) The need for a broad shift from sports-based to exercise-based extra-curricular activities.

Methodology

Literature review

Source of reference

QUEST, 2002, 54, 21-33.

The importance of early learning experiences for an active life (UK, 2005)

Authors

Telama, R; Yang, X; Hirvensalo, M and Raitakari, O

Date

2006

Keywords

Life-long participation; determinants; sport; physical activity; youth; boys; girls; adults

Country of research

Finland

Summary of findings

This article reports on a longitudinal study in Finland of 1606 males and females at two points 21 years apart to explore how the frequency of participation in organised competitive youth sport predicts adult physical activity. 

The data were drawn from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study which started in 1980 and this study examines data from 1980 (when the current sample were 9 years of age), 1983, 1986 and 2001.  At each stage participation was measured via a short self-completion questionnaire which collected information on frequency of participation in sports-club training sessions and competitions at different levels. 

The findings indicated that for both sexes those who participated in organised sport in their youth were more active in adulthood than non-participants.  Regular frequent participation in childhood and youth (9-18) notably increased the probability (5-6 fold) of adults being highly active for both sexes.  The odds ratios for reporting a high level of activity in 2001 were 13 times greater for males and 3 times greater for females who had been national competitors in 1980 compared to those who had not participated in competitions. 

The authors emphasise that their results show the strong effect of persistent participation lasting 3 or 6 years compared with non-participation or dropping out during the same period.  However, there were important gender differences, with girls' sports participation having to be more frequent and longer lasting than males to have the same strong influence on adult physical activity.

However, the authors state that the study does not offer any definitive explanations for why sports participation in youth correlates with physical activity in adulthood.  But their hypothesis is that regular, persistent physical activity and sport participation increases psychological, social and physical readiness for physical activity in later life as well as the probability of re-engaging in physical activity after a break. 

They also note the possibility of self-selection and that people with certain characteristics are those most likely to take part in sport at all ages.  The key recommendation from the research is that all young people should be offered more opportunities to participate in some kind of competitive sport without screening on the basis of talent and ability.

Methodology

Questionnaire survey

Source of reference

Pediatric Exercise Science, 17, 76-88

Web reference

http://www.humankinetics.com/PES/journalAbout.cfm

What stops high school students being physically active? (Canada, 1999)

Authors

Kirk, D

Date

2005

Keywords

Life-long participation; physical education; sport

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

This review article aims to examine how existing research evidence on PE, sport and the importance of early learning experiences for lifelong participation reveals structural problems with the delivery of PE and youth sport in England and Wales.  The author argues that early learning experiences are crucial to continuing involvement in physical activity but that only particular sections of the community are in a position to access relevant experiences. 

The author refers to the work of Cote and the developmental model of socialisation via three phases – sampling years and the importance of variety and 'deliberate play; specialising phase and deliberate practice and the dropout/recreational or investment phase.  The importance of this is that motivation, physical self-concept and perception of competence which affect future performance are well established in the sampling phase and a range of  research data are quoted to illustrate this point.  Research data are also presented on the continuing disadvantage of girls and young people with disabilities and the significance of social class and family structures. 

The author argues that multi-activity sport-based PE with an overwhelming focus on technique development and directive teaching styles do not provide the basis a transfer of learning, providing the basis for adult participation.  The author outlines a series of changes in community sport for young people which it is argued will further reinforces existing differences.

The author concludes with a series of recommendations based on current research evidence: the adoption of Cote's developmental framework as a basis for policy and provision; the establishment of variety and a task environment in the deliberate play stage (7-12); the recognition of the importance of maturational age especially during the specialising phase (12-15); the encouragement of junior multi-sports clubs (especially in school sites); the use of specialist PE teachers with young age groups.

Methodology

Research review

Source of reference

European Physical Education Review, 11(3), 239-255

Web reference

http://epe.sagepub.com/

Common factors in physical activity among young people (US, 2000)

Authors

Allison, KR; Dwyer, JJM and Makin, S

Date

1999

Keywords

Physical activity; determinants; barriers; constraints; adolescents

Country of research

Canada

Summary of findings

A two stage cluster sample of 1041 high school students in Toronto  provided information on participation in vigorous physical activity in three settings: physical education class; other school; outside school. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between perceived barriers and participation.

Time constraints due to school work, other interests and family activities were three of the four barriers considered most important. Females cited consistently higher levels of perceived barriers than males.

Two empirically distinct and theoretically meaningful factors emerged - perceived internal barriers and perceived external barriers. Internal barriers were predictive of physical activity in overall activity and outside of school.

However, higher levels of perceived external barriers were positively related to participation, perhaps because those engaged in higher levels of physical activity were more aware of obstacles to further activity.

The findings indicate that self-efficacy, despite perceived barriers, is a more consistent predictor of participation than perceived barriers.

Methodology

Survey data

Source of reference

Preventive Medicine, 1999, 28, 608-615.

Review of the influence of sports role models (Australia, 2003)

Authors

Sallis, JF; Prochaska, JJ and Taylor, WC

Date

2000

Keywords

Determinants; physical activity; children; adolescents; correlates

Country of research

United States of America

Summary of findings

This presents a review of 108 studies of correlates of youth physical activity. The studies evaluated 40 variables for children (3-12) and 48 variables for adolescents (13-18). About 60 percent of all reported associations with physical activity were statistically significant. Variables that were statistically associated with children's physical activity were sex (male), parental overweight status, physical activity preferences, intention to be active, perceived barriers (inverse), previous physical activity, healthy diet, programme/facility access and time spent outdoors. Variables consistently associated with adolescents' physical activity were sex (male), ethnicity (white), age (inverse), perceived activity competence, intentions, depression (inverse),  previous physical activity, community sports, sensation seeking, sedentary after school and on weekends (inverse), parent support, support from others, sibling physical activity, direct help from parents and opportunities to exercise. The authors comment that one of the most notable results is the lack of consistency across studies, with very few variables consistent in all comparisons.

These differences are explained by a combination of:

(i) Measurement error, reflecting difficulties in measuring young people's physical activity.

(ii) Varying sample sizes, especially for the adolescent studies.

(iii) Sample characteristics (e.g. predominantly low or high income; rural/urban).

(iv) Different analysis strategies (bivariate versus multivariate).

Within these limitations a number of consistent patterns emerged:

(i) Boys are more active than girls.

(ii) Age was only a factor for adolescents.

(iii) A complex and inconsistent relationship between physical activity and body weight.

(iv) Few psychological variables were assessed due to children's limited cognitive abilities to self-report. However, the positive association with achievement orientation indicates that being physically active does not reduce adolescents' interest in the academic.

(v) Previous physical activity is one of the few variables consistently related to physical activity in both age groups.

(vi) Community sports participation was related to adolescent physical activity, whereas participation in school sport was not. This emphasises the need to increase the number of community activity programmes.

(vii) Sedantry behaviours are competitors for adolescents' time (although time watching TV is generally unrelated to activity levels).

(viii) Strong relationship of social support from parents and others with adolescent physical activity (although parents' activity level not related).

(ix) Findings regarding access to programmes, facilities and opportunities empirically validate the need for appropriate physical environment supports for youth physical activity.

The authors conclude that there is a need for these consistently related variables to be confirmed in prospective studies and interventions to improve the modifiable variables.

Methodology

Systematic review

Source of reference

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2000, 32, 963-975.

Web reference

http://www.ms-se.com/

Sports patterns among women from adolescence to adulthood (Belgium, 2006)

Authors

Payne, W; Reynolds, M; Brown, S and Fleming, A

Date

2003

Keywords

Determinants; sport; role models; physical health

Country of research

Australia

Summary of findings

This review of 95 peer-reviewed articles and interviews with 15 sport and recreation/welfare organisations explores the extent of evidence for the hypotheses that:

Sports people act as role models and have a positive impact on individuals and the broader community
There is a link between sporting success and wider health improvements.

The authors explore the various theoretical perspectives underpinning the idea that role models can affect attitudes and behaviour:

Social cognitive theory
This suggests that most learning is based on observation and relies to a large extent on the influence of role models. Learning depends on such factors as the characteristics of role models, retention via the use of symbols, motor reproduction processes and motivational processes.

Self-efficacy theory
The effectiveness of models to influence learners to carry out a particular type of behaviour may depend on the characteristics of the model, their perceived similarity to the learner. Learning will be more likely when the learner perceives that they are capable of carrying out the behaviour (self-efficacy expectancy), think that there is a high probability that the behaviour will result in a particular outcome (outcome expectancy) and if the outcome is desirable (outcome value).

Social context framework 
This involves interaction and mentoring in which learning occurs within a real live environment.

The range of role models considered is various family members, athletes/celebrities and teachers and the authors note that role model preferences change with developmental stages. Athletes are more likely to act as role models for boys and can provide both positive and negative models of behaviour.

The effects of role models on primary participation is considered and the authors conclude that parents are particularly influential in encouraging children to take part in sport and physical activity (especially those who are also participants). They conclude that, in line with self-efficacy theory, superstars who are dissimilar to role learners are not perceived as effective role models.

Effective modelling in the area of children's motor skill development has produced evidence for the relevance of peer modelling. Children who observe their peers demonstrating skill techniques increase their self-efficacy for learning and cognitive development level.

The few studies identified suggest that the availability of appropriately active people form minority groups could provide a useful role modelling opportunity for culturally diverse people.

The authors provide a selective review of sport role model programmes in Victoria which target different population groups, with varying degrees of interaction between role models and participants. They use a typology developed by MacCallum and Beltman to classify such programmes:

Minimal interaction, with programme based on observation and modelling. The assumption is that the role model is perceived as relevant, has an approach which is consistent with the programme's philosophy, ongoing support and constant reminders of the role model's message are provided.
(Short or longer term interaction via scaffolding learning and feedback. Here it is necessary for role models to relate to young people and display a range of relevant knowledge, skills and personal characteristics. The focus is on purposeful activity, the provision of opportunities for developing independence and the opportunity for support and encouragement of a variety of role models, including peers.
Development of supportive, longer term, relationships. This approach focuses on the needs of the people involved, with attention paid to the selection and training of mentors and ongoing support.

The overall conclusions are as follows:

  • Role model programmes should be seen as a continuum from a single exposure to a long term mentoring approach.

  • There is ample theoretical evidence to support the idea for conducting role model programs.

  • Role model programmes should encompass parents, teachers and other significant adults, as well as celebrities and sports people.

  • Role models are not always positive; they can be seen to promote negative social images, beliefs and behaviours.

  • There are significant gender differences in the way athletes are viewed as role models, with males being more likely to identify with successful athletes while females tend to identify with parents.

  • The most effective role model programmes are those that focus on developing a long term, mentor relationship, particularly for individuals from socially disadvantaged groups and "at risk" groups.

  • Industry based programmes have shown some promising trends to support the involvement of sports role models in working with young people.

  • There was a lack of funding for evaluation in program budgets.

Methodology

Literature review and interview data

Source of reference

Payne, W; Reynolds, M; Brown, S and Fleming, A, Sports role models and their impact on participation in physical activity: a literature review, Victoria: VicHealth; 2003.

Physical activity in older people (Finland, 2000)

Date

2006

Keywords

Life-long participation; sport; women.

Country of research

Belgium

Summary of findings

This article reports on a longitudinal survey of the leisure time sports participation of adult women (32–41 years of age; mean age: 36.5; 91% in labour market; 53% completed higher education; 88% in domestic relationships).

In 1979 a sample of 12-18 year olds took part in the Leuvin Growth Study on Flemish Girls providing details of their sports participation and sociocultural information. In this follow-up study (1999-2002) 257 females responded to a questionnaire and a face-to-face interview in which the history of sports participation was recorded.

The authors note that a combination of self-selection and relatively high levels of sports participation mean that the sample is not representative of adult females in Flanders. Inter-age correlations for sports participation are calculated from adolescence into adulthood. Logistic regression modelling and structural equation modelling are used to explain individual differences in adult sports participation. Outcomes indicate that tracking of sports involvement between late adolescence and adulthood is low to moderate (r = .41; beta .42).

The results from the multivariate analysis show that sport participation during adolescence is a better predictor of adults' involvement in sports than educational level or parental socioeconomic status. In the sports socialization process, late adolescent sports experience, along with the school programme in which an adolescent is involved, appear to play a crucial role in sport involvement in later life.  The data indicate that females with a non-competitive style appear to be more likely to continue involvement in sport than females with a competitive style.

The authors conclude that the key socialisation variables are (non)- participation in sports in adolescence; the school programme; level of education; diversity of sporting experience (although they record a weak association for this).

Methodology

Survey; interviews.

Source of reference

International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 41(3), 413-430

Web reference

http://irs.sagepub.com/

Tracking club sport participation from childhood to early adulthood (New Zealand, 2007)

Authors

Hirvensalo, M; Lintunen, T and Rantanen, T

Date

2000

Keywords

Life-long participation; determinants; physical activity; older adults.

Country of research

Finland

Summary of findings

This Finnish study investigates the continuity of life-span physical activity by examining the predictors of the maintenance of a high level of physical activity over eight years among 642 65-84 year olds. 

Baseline measures were taken in 1988, with follow-up in 1996).  Self-reported measures of physical activity included household chores and various measures of walking and outdoor activities (including intensity), keep-fit or competitive sport. 

Past physical activity was studied via questions about participation in competitive or recreational sports at the ages of 10-19 years, 20-39 years and 40-64 years.

Information was also collected on chronic health conditions, education, marital status and age.  The authors conclude that strong evidence was found that participation in competitive (but not recreational) sports early in life was a powerful predictor of maintaining a high physical activity level in old age (independent of chronic conditions).  More generally, participation in competitive sports during one age period was highly predictive of participation in the next age period. 

Consequently the authors suggest that earlier life physical exercise as a predictor of the maintenance of a high level of physical activity in old age has to be studied with separate models for each age period.  The authors conclude by reviewing a range of explanations for their findings, including early socialisation and early high perceptions of physical competence. 

However the authors acknowledge the limitations of retrospective studies and the issue of recall bias. However, because of the likelihood of accurate recall for competitive sports, the authors assert that there is merit in their findings.

Methodology

Interviews

Source of reference

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 10, 37-41

Web reference

http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0905-7188

Tracking of physical activity and physical fitness across the life span

Authors

Richards, R; Williams, S; Poulton, R and Reeder, AI

Date

2007

Keywords

Determinants of participation, measurement, physical activity, adolescent, children

Country of research

New Zealand

Summary of findings

This article reports on a New Zealand study with a dual purpose.  Firstly, to examine different methods for tracking organised sports participation from age 7 to 21.  Secondly, to evaluate the contribution that participation in club and organised sport at 7 years of age makes to participation at aged 21. 

Using data from the longitudinal Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study a slightly varying sample of approximately 1,000 (female: 49%) was used to assess participation in sports clubs or groups outside school at ages 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18 and 21. The article provides a brief review of previous tracking research illustrating that longer term correlations are of low to moderate strength. 

The authors claim that this study extends previous research in two ways. 

Firstly, by using analytical approaches that estimate summary ranking coefficients based on information from all assessment points simultaneously, rather than between pairs of assessments.  At each assessment point data were collected via face-to-face interviews on sports club participation, socioeconomic status based on parental occupation, levels of family active-recreation orientation, basic motor ability (e.g. standing jump, static balance, and hamstring stretch), height and weight, general health and VO2 max. 

Secondly, by addressing the need to examine how factors correlated with physical activity affect tracking.  Tracking was examined in three ways: (i) between pairs of assessment (correlation coefficients, population attributable risk), (ii) as an estimate of the underlying tendency to participate in sport over all assessments (intraclass correlation calculated by random effects models), (iii) as the association between early participation and all subsequent participation (generalised estimating equations).  Approaches (ii) and (iii) controlled for family socioeconomic status, body mass index, cardiorespiratory fitness, motor ability, general health and family involvement in active recreation.

The first two techniques (correlation coefficients and PAR) estimated tracking between the frist and last assessments and found a statistically significant, but low level of tracking.  They conclude that the PAR suggests that sports participation at 21 would be reduced by 13 per cent if children did not participate in sport at seven years of age.  The univariate random effects model found a low underlying propensity to participate in club sport between childhood and early adulthood, suggesting considerable within-person variation and a high degree of movement in and out of club sport.  Those who participated at aged seven were likely to renew their participation at some, but not necessarily all later stages.  Controlling for the range of covariates reduced the strength of the relationship indicating the influence of these factors.  The odds ratio from the univariate analysis indicated that, at each age, the odds of participating in club sport were doubled among those who had participated at an earlier age.

The authors list some limitations with the study: sports participation was measured by club membership which provided no information about frequency, duration and intensity of participation; not all potential influences on participation were controlled for.  The authors conclude that their study confirms other research findings that sports participation tracked low to moderate from childhood to adulthood.  However, they conclude that the substantial movement in and out of sports participation cautions against an over-reliance on promotion at these earlier ages for establishing lifelong healthy levels of sports participation.

Methodology

Longitudinal study, interviews, test of motor ability, VO2 Max

Source of reference

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 78(5), 413-419

Links between childhood and adult physical activity (Canada, 2004)

Authors

Malina, RM

Date

1996

Keywords

Physical activity; fitness; sport; adolescents; adults; life-long participation; determinants.

Country of research

United States of America

Summary of findings

This article reviews research and literature relating to relationships between childhood and adolescent physical activity.  It addresses issues of definition of both fitness and activity, arguing that the measurement and quantification of habitual physical activity and its major correlate, energy expenditure, across the lifespan are difficult tasks, often based on self-reporting, and that further research is required. 

A range of studies are reviewed that indicate that there is a low to moderate tracking of physical activity in the transition from early to middle childhood, with inactivity tracking better than activity.  This instability of activity is paralleled by changing attitudes in adolescence. 

In several studies tracking activity from adolescence to adulthood, various levels and types of adolescent sports participation are correlated (low to moderate) with adult physical activity and psychological readiness for activity.  Tracking of physical activity in adulthood is less studied. 

In some studies those who took part in competitive sport were most likely to be active as adults, in others the opposite was found.  Nevertheless the author points to the potential long-term influence of competitive and, especially, recreational sports activities on activity and performance in later life. 

The author also reviews the limited number of studies which track indicators of fitness.  Such measures include various measures of strength, flexibility, motor fitness and cardiovascular fitness. 

The results suggest that tracking of fitness tests is influenced by factors other than performance per se and that growth and maturity characteristics are linked to the tracking of performance. There is a need for further multivariate analyses.  The author concludes that there is a need to distinguish between youth or community sports and elite specialisation.  Sports activities are probably the major form of physical activity during childhood and adolescence and perhaps young adulthood. 

Though low to moderate, the tracking of various activity indicators, most of which include sports participation, suggest that sports activities during childhood to youth may form the foundation for adult activity habits.

Methodology

Literature review

Source of reference

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1996, Vol 67 Supplement No 3, pp48-57

Links between social position and playing sport (Sweden, 2008)

Authors

Trudeau, F; Laurencelle, L and Shephard, RJ

Date

2004

Keywords

Physical activity; physical education; children; adults; life-long participation; determinants

Country of research

Canada

Summary of findings

This reports on a longitudinal study based on data from the Trois-Rivieres Growth and Development Study.  Data completed via activity diaries at 12/14 years of age were compared with 166 of the same subjects when aged 35 (data collected via telephone interviews) (79 male; 87 female). Childhood physical activity was grouped into five different types: intense; light; total; organised; and total sedentary behaviour.  Children had also been allocated to limited (4 hours per week by class teacher) or enhanced physical education (5 hours per week by PE specialist in primary schools.  Parent/child physical activity relationships were also examined.

The study explored three issues:

(i) Associations between weekly time spent on physical activity at 10/12 and 35.

(ii) Influence of the enhanced physical education on any observed associations.

(iii) Potential influence of parental physical activity on adult participation.

Physical activity level for children was measured via hours per week and by times per week for adults.  Although the data did not demonstrate any strong association between childhood and adult physical activity some associations reached formal statistical significance. 

There was a relationship between the frequency of adult physical activity and the total amount of physical activity as a child.  For adult males only, there was an association with total organised physical activity.  This association can be ascribed to those who were assigned to the enhanced physical education group, indicating a synergy between enhanced physical education and participation in out-of-school organised physical activity. 

There was a general association between intense physical education and adult activity and an association between participation in the enhance physical education programme and adult exercise frequency of more that three times per week.  There were no observed associations between the physical activity patterns of parents and adult participation. 

The limited influence of parent behaviour emphasises the influence of the impact of organised physical activity in boys and physical education instruction in girls.

The results do not meet the criterion for suggesting that physical activity is a stable variable, as neither childhood physical activity or parental physical activity has a strong distant effect on adult physical activity.  Consequently, physical activity promotion must be a life long process, aimed at revitalising the waning positive influences of school programmes and parental influences.

Methodology

Longitudinal survey

Source of reference

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2004, 36(11), 1937-1943

Web reference

http://www.acsm-msse.org

Adolescents' attitudes to sport (Norway, 2009)

Authors

Engstrom, L.M.

Date

2008

Keywords

Sport, physical activity, exercise habits, adolescent, adult, habitus, cultural capital.

Country of research

Sweden

Summary of findings

This longitudinal Swedish study explores the extent to which differences in childhood and adolescent sports experiences and differences in cultural capital are reflected in exercise habits in middle age.  The data were generated from a follow-up 2007 study of a 1968 sample of 15 year olds (i.e. now aged 53).  Because of sample decay, only 1,979 of the original 2,144 respondents were available and a response rate of 77 per cent was achieved to the postal survey. The study explores three basic issues:

(i) How does the sport habitus formed during childhood in physical education lessons and leisure time sports relate to middle age exercise patterns (i.e. the nature and breath of participation; grades in physical education?

(ii) How does the cultural capital acquired during childhood (the social position of parents and educational achievement) relate to later exercise habits?

(iii) How does sport habitus and cultural capital in childhood relate to exercise in middle age if level of education is controlled for?

 

Current activity patterns were examined in the context of 1968 data relating to:

  • Attitude to physical education and physical exertion.
  • Grade achieved in Year 8 physical education.
  • Membership of sports clubs.
  • Breadth of sports experience and time spent (low, medium, high) on a variety of leisure time sports.

The author concludes that neither membership of sports clubs nor the amount of time spent on sporting activity at the age of 15 had any significant association with current exercise habits.  However, the combination of the breadth of leisure time sporting experiences and grades in physical education had a significant association with later exercise habits.  An individual with the highest sport habitus value at age 15 had three times greater chance of being active in middle age than one with the lowest score. 

The author suggests that this is in part explained by the fact that the content of physical education was characterised by the learning of skills, physical training and outdoor life activities – all of which are closely related to the type of activities undertaken by middle aged men and women.  The author suggests that this indicates the need for physical education to emphasise the learning of different sports skills and outdoor activities.  However, the importance of cultural capital is even greater – an individual with high cultural capital at age 15 is almost five times more likely to be active 38 years later than one who had very low cultural capital.  Educational achievement appears to be a key component of cultural capital with those with high educational achievement being more likely to be exercisers in later life.  This leads the author to suggest that a middle-aged individual's level of exercise is very closely related to social position and educational capital (together with a strong sports habitus). 

The author relates this analysis to wider societal inequalities and argues that, to seek to compensate for these, learning opportunities in schools must be both broadened and deepened to ensure access to basic knowledge and skills which constitute essential prerequisites for active participation in different kinds of exercise and outdoor activities.

Methodology

Longitudinal study, survey.

Source of reference

Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 13(4), 319-343

Web reference

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/17408989.asp

Does sport activity really decline with age? (Germany, 2006)

Authors

Kjonniksen, L; Fjortoft, I and Wold, B

Date

2009

Keywords

Sport, physical activity, participation, physical education, adolescence

Country of research

Norway

Summary of findings

This Norwegian longitudinal study examines how male and female attitudes to PE and organised sport change during adolescence and how such attitudes may relate to physical activity in early adulthood. These relationships are explored via a sample of 630 participants in the Norwegian Longitudinal Health Behaviour Study between 1990 and 2000 (from 13 to 23 years of age).

Global leisure-time physical activity was measured using an instrument from the WHO Health Behaviour  in School-aged Children study which measures both frequency and intensity; attitudes to PE were measured via a single evaluative question; and data on participation in organised youth sports was asked via a question about sports club membership.

There were no differences in physical activity between males and females at age 23

  • Both sexes had a positive and stable attitude to PE at ages 13 to 16. This may reflect the variety of the Norwegian PE curriculum.
  • Boys were more likely to participate in organised sports, but this declined for both from age 13 to 16.
  • Attitude to PE was moderately related to participation in organised sport during adolescence. This may reflect the positive experience of the varied and positive PE curriculum. Also skills learned in sports might be transferred to PE reinforcing such attitudes.
  • Both positive attitude to PE and participation in organised youth sports significantly predicted adult physical activity (although the proportion of explained variance was low).
  • Participation in organised youth sport significantly predicted later physical activity in young adult males, whereas attitude to PE was the only significant predictor in young adult women. The authors speculate that this may reflect the gendered nature of sports.

The authors point to two main limitations with the study: (i) the self-reporting of physical activity; and (ii) lack of sufficient variation in the measure of attitudes to PE.

The authors raise the question as to whether youth sports should be organised differently to attract more girls, or whether it is better to accept the gender differences and cultivate them.  They conclude that although adolescent experiences in organised sport and PE have some significance for physical activity in young adulthood, this is determined mainly by other factors. Nevertheless they argue that more research is needed to examine the quality and goals of the PE curriculum, suggesting that a change in the curriculum that meets adolescent needs for quality PE is more likely to promote lifelong physical activity.

Methodology

Longitudinal survey data

Source of reference

European Physical Education Review, 15(2), 139-154

Web reference

http://epe.sagepub.com/

Access to facilities as a factor in playing sport (Netherlands, 2010)

Authors

Breuer, C and Wicker, P

Date

2006

Keywords

Sports participation, determinants.

Country of research

Germany

Summary of findings

The purpose of this German study was to apply different methods of analysis to determine if the traditional assumption of age-related decline in sports participation is correct. The authors argue that the traditional cross-sectional analysis is inadequate because it fails to distinguish between 'age' and cohort effects. The authors argue that 'age' has no explanatory power as it is a proxy variable for the totality of all possible age-based factors – physical, mental, social, economic. In contrast longitudinal analyses measure development processes and monitor cohort effects, but age and period effects are combined. They argue that attention should be paid to period effects – the influences of social and economic historical events, their impact on   changes in sports activities and the general conditions that affect age and specific cohorts.

The authors argue that multipoint cross-sectional studies can analyse age, period and cohort effect. However, to avoid comparing similar but not the same populations they propose analysis based on cohort sequence, which analyses the same population at several different points in time. Beginning with the second measuring point, a 'youngest' age group is added to each measuring point and period and cohort effects are monitored.

To explore these issues the authors analysed data from the nationally representative German Socio-economic Panel between 1984 and 2005 and the analysis is based on 10 data points during this period. Data is collected on frequency of sports participation (but not duration, intensity or type of sport).  Because of panel mortality checks were made to ensure it continuing representativeness.

In their cross-sectional analysis the authors found that sports participation declined with age. However, age-specific rates increased significantly over the years i.e. age group sports activity rates significantly decreased with age, but significantly increased over the years. Increases in activity rates were higher for women (especially between ages 45-64). Therefore it can be assumed that there are strong period and cohort effects.  

Longitudinal intracohort analyses indicated that in all except the oldest, sports activity decreased until 1999 and then increased until 2005. The only cohorts to experience decreased sports activity over 20 years were the youngest and the oldest (all over 80). Three cohorts (25-34; 35-44; 45-54) showed a clear but not significant increase, with the activity rate of 55-64 levelling off. For men all cohorts, except 45-54, had a statistically significant decrease in the sports activity rate over 20 years – corresponding with the cross-sectional analysis. For women all cohorts except the oldest had increases sports activity rates and this was statistically significant for 25-34 and 35-44. Women's sports activity rates exceed males in all cohorts, except 45-54.

The authors offer some period effects as explanations for the increases in sports activity rates over time, especially for women: (i) women start to engage in activity because they have a higher health awareness than men; (ii) more targeted offers are aimed at women and older adults; (iii) changes in social norms and values and new ideals of body slimness and youth and prevalent, especially for women; (iv) average income and education is higher than 20 years ago, resulting in new sports preferences; (v) changes in work times lead to new sports resources, and provision has become more flexible.

Study limitations include the subjective nature of the activity question and the possibility of social desirability bias leading to increased estimation of participation. Future research could seek to analyse: (i) changing age and gender norms; (ii) the importance of body, slimness and youth ideals; (iii) relationship between sports and improving individual health; (iv) temporal movement of culturally based obligations – work, family; and (v) changing nature of provision and promotion of exercise.

The age and cohort group participation rates imply a number of policy recommendations applied to both sexes: (i) participation strategies should focus on women up to 35 and on men 35 and older; (ii) the intense decrease in older cohorts implies that there is a need to focus on the 64 plus group.

Methodology

Longitudinal survey data

Source of reference

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 80(1), 22-31

Web reference

http://www.aahperd.org/rc/publications/rqes/

Ways to include Muslim girls in school sport (England, 2011)

Authors

Prins, RG; van Empelen, P; te Velde, SJ; Timperio, A; van Lenthe, FJ; Tak, NI; Crawford, D; Brug, J and Oenema, A

Date

2010

Keywords

Sports; determinants; participation; facilities; adolescents.

Country of research

Netherlands

Summary of findings

This is a study in the Netherlands which explores the individual and environmental predictors of adolescents' sports participation and if the availability of sports facilities moderates the intention/behaviour relationship.  Data for 247 young people (48% male: mean age, 15 years) were obtained from the Environmental Determinants of Obesity in Rotterdam Schoolchildren study (2005/06 to 2007/08).  The researchers drew on the ideas of the theory of planned behaviour for the study.  From this perspective behavioural intention is the most proximal determinant of behaviour Intention in turn is determined by attitudes, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control (the ease or difficulty of perfuming a specific behaviour).  They combine this approach with environmental factors such as the availability of sports facilities, which may act as a facilitator of behaviour.

At baseline respondents completed a survey collecting demographic information and assessing engagement in sports participation (up to three sports in previous week and how often), attitude to sport and physical activity, how easy it is to take part in sport and how they decide (including the role of parents) and perceived behavioural control and intention towards sports participation.  The availability of sports facilities was assessed using a geographic information system.  At follow-up sports participation was again examined.

Multiple regression analyses were conducted to test associations between availability of sports facilities and the interaction of intention by availability of sports facilities with sports participation.  The analysis found that attitude and subjective norm were associated with sports participation at follow-up.  Intention was associated with sports participation in the univariate analysis, but not in the multivariate models.  Availability of sports facilities was not associated with sports participation.  However, the availability of sports facilities significantly moderated the intention-sports participation association, the intention-behaviour relationship being stronger where there were more facilities available.  The authors argue that their findings support the proposition that the environment is a relevant prerequisite for being physically active, but is not sufficient to promote physical activity levels.  Availability of sports facilities may facilitate sports participation for those with a positive intention.  The authors point out that the timespan  of two years might be too long to find a string association, especially as the intention item referred to six months; the theory of planned behaviour construct were measured with a limited number of items, possibly reducing the validity of its operationalisation; physical activity was self-reported.

Methodology

Longitudinal; secondary analysis.

Source of reference

Health Education Research, 25(3), 489-497

Web reference

http://her.oxfordjournals.org/

Efforts to promote sport in former mining areas (UK, 2011)

Authors

Dagkas, S; Benn, T and Jawad, H

Date

2011

Keywords

Physical education; girls; religion; culture.

Country of research

England

Summary of findings

This English study explores ways to include Muslim girls in physical education and school sport.  In-depth interviews were conducted in eight case study schools (2 primary; 2 secondary) with 19 teachers, 109 young people and 32 parents.  In addition, four focus groups with 36 Muslim young people in community/supplementary schools in Muslim communities were held and a postal survey was conducted in 402 local authority schools and 12 supplementary schools, which had a very poor response rate.

A short review is provided of some literature relating to the relationships between religious and socio-cultural attitudes to sport and physical activity for women.  The findings are presented by respondent groups.

The teachers' perspective emphasises 'situation-specific balance' in which issues are managed on an individual basis.  The situations varied widely, with difficulties in separating religious beliefs from cultural heritage.  Where there were strong school/community links there were fewer issues.  Teachers also spoke of 'locating the gaps' in their understanding of religious versus cultural requirements and the need for training.  A second gap was parents' lack of understanding of the benefits of physical education.  These issues were addressed in schools with clear policies and senior management support.  A third gap was the lack of female Muslim role models in coaching or teaching.

The primary pupils' perspective revealed fewer anxieties and enthusiasm for range of activities on offer, an understanding of benefits of exercise and an ease with mixed sex environments and the PE kit.  The secondary pupils' perspective combined a positive evaluation of physical activity with an increased awareness of the sex-segregated restrictions imposed by their parents' cultural and religious views.  Most successful schools had engaged pupils in decision-making about dress codes and sports participation.

In the parents' perspectives there was no consensus, with varied concerns about the dilution of cultural heritage.  However, some did consider physical education as valuable (although it had a low educational status) and supported participation that respected modesty and religious integrity (although there were some opponents).  Resistance seemed less where there were strong school/community links.

The authors conclude that good practice includes: an open ethos of celebrating cultural diversity; whole-school agendas committed to health and well-being; clear policies in terms of expectations and organisation in physical education; stability with the local community; regular opportunities for school/home/community links and local sports facilities providing all-female spaces for school use; teachers were confident about Islamic requirements; pupil involvement in problem-solving.

Methodology

Interviews; case studies; postal survey.

Source of reference

Sport, Education and Society, 16(2), 223-239

Web reference

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/cses

Use of public sports facilities by disadvantaged groups (UK, 2011)

Authors

Hart, G; Gregory, M and Taylor, P

Date

2011

Keywords

Sport; participation, community, development.

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

This article explores the relative effectiveness and efficiency of eight different models of intervention seeking to increases sports participation in English coalfield communities which suffered substantial economic and social decline following mine closures.  The article reports on the evaluation of pilot studies.

The Sports Legacy programme ran for 18 months with the key objective of increasing participation in athletics and fitness activity by training local people as volunteers to run free community sessions for young people, especially 6-10 year olds.  Athletics was chosen because of its limited dependence on built facilities.  The eight models were:

  • Athletics Club Outreach.  Volunteers initially delivered taster sessions in schools, with links to satellite sessions based within these clubs.
  • Student Volunteer Led in partnership with a local college.
  • Community Coach to set up satellite club sessions in five areas.
  • Traditional Sports Development with a local authority's sports development unit to create three new satellite athletics clubs.
  • Events Led.  Outdoor events to provide 'taster' opportunities.
  • Youth Organizations identified to carry out programme as part of their existing provision.
  • Parental Development.  After-school athletics sessions run by volunteer parents and school staff.
  • Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) directed.  Recruited volunteers from a local college to lead activity sessions at local schools.

The authors provide a brief review of research and policy documents to indicate the evidence-based rationale for the local delivery models.  They argue that much literature fails to address the issues of the precise nature of community-based models offer the greatest chance of success and the processes involved.  The authors provide a review of key success factors from the evaluation of Sports Actions Zones which include, partnership working, key professionals, inspirational individuals, outreach work and a holistic approach.  They also review the Active England programme and conclude that most of the principles in these two programmes are represented in some way in the various models that they evaluated.

The evaluation was undertaken via:

  • Participant registration/consent forms.
  • Participant evaluation forms (only 20% completion).
  • Volunteer registration forms.
  • Pilot models' monitoring reports to CRT.
  • CRT data from each activity session, time spent on the different models and a copy of the Sports Legacy financial budget for each model.
  • 29 individual interviews with key stakeholders.
  • Two focus groups with student volunteers.

Although the authors say that the time period was too short to make a judgement about success or failure, there were clear differences between the models in the inputs they consumed, in the scale of activity they achieved in terms of participants/volunteers and community activities and groups and their value for money.

There was a wide variation in direct costs, with the traditional Sports Development model and the Community Coach being the most expensive and the Event approach the least.  However, some were also very demanding of CRT time, especially the student volunteer-led approach.  In terms of outputs (number of participants, volunteers and activities), although not all models were operating for the same length of time, the Athletics Club Outreach had a significantly higher number of participants  than other models and was sustainable with exit routes.  Community Coach Funded (taster sessions) and Traditional Sports Development (regular participants) also achieved a high number of participants.  In terms of training volunteers, the most productive were the Student Volunteer Led and CRT Directed models (although they were both very resource intensive).  However, the conversion rate for the CRT model was very low.  The Traditional Sports Development model achieved the highest number of community activities and the best sustainability prospects, as they were integrated into existing club structures.  The authors identified a series of success factors, which include:

  • Committed partners sharing the CRT vision.
  • A formal partnership agreement.
  • Effective local coordination of activity.
  • Building on existing activity/organisations/infrastructure.
  • Limited inputs of CRT time/personnel.
  • Initial leadership by qualified coaches.
  • Training and development of, and eventual leadership by, volunteers.

Risk factors included:

  • Poor weather (if activity scheduled outdoors).
  • Overlong gestation/preparation period.
  • Too much CRT time/personnel inputs.
  • Timing of sessions inappropriate for parental volunteers.
  • Disagreements between CRT and partners.
  • No formal agreement with partner.
  • Inadequate local coordination.
  • Insufficient recruitment and use of volunteers.
  • Timescale too short to retain interest of participants or volunteers.
  • Poor location of facility in relation to participants.

The authors conclude that although they have not identified a blueprint for success, they have identified a range of factors that if used systematically are likely to increase a project's chances of success.

Methodology

Secondary sources, interviews, group discussions.

Source of reference

International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 3(1), 65-83

Web reference

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/risp

The effect of mass sport events on attitudes to physical activity (US, 2011)

Authors

Taylor, P; Panagouleas, T and Ping Kung, S

Date

2011

Keywords

Social inclusion, access, financial objectives, facilities, public sector

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

This paper uses data from Sport England's National Benchmarking Service (NBS) to examine the usage of English sport and leisure centres by disadvantaged groups and the relationship with financial performance and type of management (private, trust, direct provision) between 1997 and 2006.  Such groups are defined as: 11-19 year old; two lowest socio-economic groups; 60 plus; black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups (BME) - all measured by a 'representative ratio' (i.e. the proportion of users in relation to their proportion in the catchment area population) – and disabled under 60; disadvantaged discount card holders; females; unemployed which are measured by a 'percentage of visits'.  The national benchmarks are set at three points in the distribution of scores for each indicator – 25th, 50th (median) and 75th percentiles – and local authority performance is assessed within this framework.

The analysis uses datasets from the NBS for 1997, 2001 and 2006 to explore whether the use of centres by specific groups has changed over time and the extent to which changes may have been constrained by financial objectives.  In 2006 only 11-19 year olds were 'over-represented at the 75% benchmark and BME groups at 50% and 75% benchmarks – all others were 'under-represented'.  Between 1997 and 2006 the data indicate that (i) young people's access performance has declined, (ii) BME groups' performance has increased, (iii) 60 plus has stayed constant, (iv) because of definitional changes it is difficult to comment on the two lowest socio-economic groups, (v) disabled and unemployed show a slight decline in usage.  The only unambiguous upward trend is for disadvantaged card holders and females have greatly increased usage, being the majority of users (55%).  Cost recovery has improved from 72% in 1997 to 80% in 2006 and income per visit rose by 89%.

The authors use regression analysis to explore the extent to which there is a relationship between improved financial performance and access.  They find 'patchy evidence' of a trade –off.  The direct evidence of a trade-off is the negative effect of higher cost recovery on BME and lowest socio-economic groups and also the negative effect of disadvantaged discount cards and visits by unemployed on cost recovery.  The indirect evidence is the negative effect of discount cards and private contract management (both good for financial performance) on 11-19 years access; the negative effect of private contract and trust management on 60 plus access and the negative effect of more deprived locations on cost recovery.  But the evidence of a trade-off is not comprehensive, with the majority of access variables not having a significant negative effect on cost recovery.  Structural variables (type of management, location, size and type of facility) feature more consistently than trade-off variables.  There were also some seemingly contradictory results such as the positive effect of private contract and trust management on BME and lowest socioeconomic groups' access performance.  The authors conclude that financial performance does not appear to seriously constrain access performance and access performance does not seriously constrain financial performance.  The evidence does not challenge the consistency of government policies which promote social inclusivity and impose tighter budgetary requirements.

The authors draw two broad sets of implications from this. Firstly, there is a need for greater targeting of subsidies and to strengthen the accountability of local authorities to access objectives. Secondly, the location decisions for new facilities need to be made with a remit for socially inclusive access. Further, private contract and trust management both have a positive effect on financial performance and if access improvement is important these approaches seem a better bet than in-house management. The authors finally conclude that there is a need for specifically targeted activity programming and promotion and more outreach provision, rather than depending simply on price discounts.

Methodology

National Benchmarking Service (NBS)

Source of reference

Managing Leisure 16(2), 128–141

Web reference

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/rmle/2011/00000016/00000002/art00005

Review of common factors in physically active young people (UK, 2011)

Authors

Funk, D; Jordan, J; Ridinger, L and Kaplanidou, K

Date

2011

Keywords

Sport; physical activity; exercise, sports events; motivation.

Country of research

United States of America

Summary of findings

This research used on-line surveys of participants in the Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon and 8k event to explore the developmental potential of these events to increase positive attitudes towards physically active leisure.  It explored their motivational capacity and investigated how participation might contribute to activity commitment and future exercise intentions.

The article provides a brief literature review in which the authors admit that there is little current evidence that mass participation sports events (MPSEs) increase and sustain levels of physical activity that produce health-related benefits, but research is needed to explore their potential developmental role in forming positive attitudes (especially among inactive individuals).  The authors provide a brief discussion of the potential of MPSEs to influence a developmental process including the initiation and continuation of physical activity via impact on attitude formation during the three event phases – preparation, participation and post-event behaviour.  The brief discussion of issues of motivation and levels of event satisfaction lead to the formulation of a series of research questions: Which sport event participation motives will be attributed to equally directing participation in a MPSE?;  which sport event participation motives will predict increased activity commitment and future exercise intentions?; will satisfaction with the MPSE experience predict increased activity commitment and future exercise intention?; will race distance category predict increased activity commitment and future exercise intentions?; will prior number of running events completed predict increased commitment and future exercise intentions?; will physical activity level before the event predict increased commitment and future exercise intentions?

Data were collected from an achieved sample of 2791 respondents (a 19% response rate) via an on-line survey three months after the event (supported by an email message from the race organisers) – 53% had taken part in the marathon, 38% in the half marathon and 9% in the 8K; 45% were male and 55% female and 70% were aged between 25 and 49.  In terms of event participation motives two broad clusters were found: 95% fell within a cluster of challenge/enjoyment/strength and endurance; 75% fell with a cluster of competition/weight management/ill-health avoidance/social affiliation/physical appearance/stress management. In terms of increasing activity and future exercise intentions there were three configurations: (i) those who took part to increase strength and endurance/cope with stress/avoid health problems/gain recognition for their accomplishment and were satisfied with the event were more likely to be committed to running and express future exercise intentions; (ii)  those who took part for enjoyment/competition/positive health/ran the marathon/were experienced runners/physically fit before the event were more likely to be committed to running after the event; (iii) those who participated to receive challenge benefits/social affiliation/weight management and health pressures were more likely to have future exercise intentions.

The authors conclude that the results lend support for the theoretical potential of a MPSE to serve as a community-based intervention to promote population-based physical activity.  However, the event's potential to promote health outcomes as a stand alone intervention is limited.  A more realistic perspective is that a MPSE can produce incremental changes in physical activity over time by promoting positive attitudes to exercise among the least active and by strengthening activity interest for all individuals.  A unique configuration of intrinsic motives, event characteristics and physical activity involvement can direct participation over time.  The authors concluded that additional research is required to clarify the link between exercise-based motives and post event outcomes to develop better communication strategies for various audiences.  Research is also required to establish a more in-depth demographic profile of participants in MPSEs, especially first time participants and this could be compared with data from several events to assess maintained changes.  Finally future research should use more objective measures of actual physical activity behaviours.

Methodology

Cross-sectional; survey.

Source of reference

Leisure Sciences, 33(3), 250-268

Web reference

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01490400.2011.564926?journalCode=ulsc20

Links between school sports and physical activity (Canada, 2011)

Authors

Biddle, SJH; Atkin, AJ; Cavill, N and Foster, C

Date

2011

Keywords

Physical activity; youth; determinants.

Country of research

United Kingdom

Summary of findings

This article presents the findings of a review of nine systematic quantitative reviews of research relating to factors associated with children's and adolescents' (less than 19 years of age) physical activity (PA).  The article outlines the search strategy, the inclusion criteria, the approach to data extraction and the criteria for strength and quality of evidence and the extent to which each review met these criteria.  The authors provide details of the findings related to a range of variables - age and gender; ethic origin; socio-economic status; body-mass index (BMI); psychological variables; behavioural correlates and social/cultural correlates. Its broad conclusions are as follows:

Decline in PA by age is common, being most marked in late childhood and early adolescence especially for girls.  However, more specific and precise measures of activity might reveal information on activity preferences.
Findings on ethnicity are either small or inconsistent.  However, samples are small and there is insufficient study of specific cultural groups and socio-economic status.
Data are unclear about importance of socio-economic status for children and adolescence.  But there are significant definitional and measurement issues relating to socio-economic status.

  • Higher BMI correlates with low PA levels only for adolescent girls, but not possible to establish direction of influence.
  • Competence perceptions seem to be an important correlate of PA for adolescents (although there are variations in the definition and measurement of 'competence').  However, a self-focussed, intrinsic task orientation is likely to be beneficial for motivation and well-being of young people.  Enjoyment of PA is more important for girls than boys and this is likely to be linked to perceived self-efficacy.  It is recommended that future studies of psychological correlates of PA focus on the physical self and not just general self-perceptions.
  • Overall, sedentary time was inconsistently associated with activity, suggesting that some sedentary behaviours can co-exist with PA.
  • Findings suggest that playing sport may be a good indicator of PA in adolescents, but sport may not be the answer for all (especially girls).
  • Parents are the key social and cultural correlate, with parental support being the key.  However this comes in many forms (social, material, emotional: encouragement, involvement, facilitation) and further investigation is required.  Evidence is less clear concerning the relationship between parental PA and child and adolescent PA.  It seems that greater family cohesion, parent-child communication and parental engagement are all independent predictors of PA.
  • Environmental variables, while seemingly holding great potential for understanding PA in children and adolescents, require greater clarity and further study.  Variables clustered around access, opportunities and availability to be active are associated with higher levels of PA.

The authors point to a number of methodological shortcomings in this area of study: measurement of PA is too dependent on self-report, although this is changing; too few studies of how overall PA is constituted; many studies use different measures and definitions; many studies are cross-sectional; there is a need for greater use of validated psychological measures.  More specifically, the nine reviews were not precise in defining PA and they conducted their reviews in different ways and provided variable evidence about the strength of associations.  Limited information was provided about types of PA, location and social context and frequency, duration and intensity of PA and measurement errors are a significant weakness.

The authors' conclude that beyond age and gender correlates are likely to have only small or small-to-moderate effects in isolation and may work best in interaction with other influences, although we are not close to identifying the nature of these interactions.  Psychologists will need to incorporate a wider range of variables beyond individual psycho-social constructs if they are to contribute fully to the understanding of participation in PA among young people.

Methodology

Systematic review

Source of reference

International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4(1),

Web reference

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1750984X.2010.548528

Adolescent sport and adult physical activity (Finland, 2003)

Authors

Fuller, D; Sabiston, C; Karp, I; Barnett, T and O'Loughlin, J

Date

2011

Keywords

Sport; physical activity; physical education; exercise; school sport.

Country of research

Canada

Summary of findings

This Canadian study examines whether the availability of intramural or extramural sports in secondary schools is associated with physical activity (PA) levels in youth throughout secondary schools and at age 20 (irrespective of participation in such sports).  The research is based on 808 pupils from 10 secondary schools in Montreal.  Baseline data were collected in classroom-administered self-completion questionnaires at age 12/13.  Follow-up data were collected every three months during the school year to age 17 and then at age 20.  Data on the number of PA sessions outside normal gym classes were collected in a 7-day recall using a Weekly Activity Checklist (6 light, 17 moderate, 6 vigorous activities).  Details on intra- and extramural sports were obtained from the school principals.  Covariates including age, sex, body mass index, mother's education and school socioeconomic status were selected.

The analysis of these data showed that those attending schools with a high number of intramural sports reported higher levels of total and vigorous PA than those in school with fewer such sports, regardless of whether or not they took part in the sports programme.  The authors speculate that this might be explained by a school environment that reinforces positive attitudes to PA.  Opportunities for extramural sports were not correlated with level of PA, regardless of participation in the programme.  However, independent of the availability of intramural and extramural sports, all reported marked declines in PA between ages 13 and 20.

The authors suggest that their results provide preliminary evidence suggesting that implementing intramural sports opportunities in school may be one way to help young people to achieve recommended PA levels.  However, compared with intramural sports, extramural sports appear to have limited potential for increasing PA at the school level, possibly because they typically involve fewer students and involve the more elite athletes.  The authors conclude that a variety of intramural sports opportunities should be offered to maximise participation, promote a culture conducive to involvement in PA and encourage sustained participation after school.

Methodology

Longitudinal study; survey.

Source of reference

Journal of School Health, 81(8), 449-454

Web reference

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2011.00613.x/abstract

The influence of sport role models on adolescent girls (Australia, 2005)

Authors

Tammelin, T; Nayha, S; Hills, AP and Jarvelin, M

Date

Jan-03

Keywords

Adolescents, adults, life-long participation, physical activity, sport

Country of research

Finland

Summary of findings

This Finnish longitudinal study is based on postal surveys of 7794 males and females, collecting details of their physical activity at age 14 and 31.

The association between adolescent sports participation and adult physical activity was examined by multinominal logistic regression.

Participation in sports at least once a week among females and twice a week for males was associated with a high level of adult physical activity. Adolescent participation in intensive endurance sports and some sports that require and encourage diversified sports skills appeared to be most beneficial for adult physical activity.

The authors caution that this study cannot be generalised directly to other countries.

Methodology

Survey data

Source

American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2003, 24, (1), 22-28.

Web reference

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/07493797

'Planned behaviour' as a predictor of physical activity (Canada, 2012)

Authors

Vescio, J; Wilde, K and Crosswhite, JJ

Date

2005

Keywords

Participation; sport, role models, girls; identity; self-concept; physical education.

Country of research

Australia

Summary of findings

In the context of encouraging adolescent girls to maintain participation in sport, this  study explored the significance of sport role models for adolescent girls (13-17) in Australia.

Adopting approaches from social learning theory and gender theory, the article reviews previous relevant research, which indicates that adolescent girls tend to select role models from familiar and everyday environments.

Data were obtained via two group discussions and a survey of 357 high school pupils.  Less than one in ten (8.4%) of the girls that had a role model identified a sports person.  Role models came from a range of domains:

  • Fmily member - 41%
  • Friend - 21%
  • Entertainment (actors, entertainers, popstars, music industry) - 18%

Further, focus group interviews indicated that role models' personal qualities (especially 'feminine characteristics' such as sporting, fair play, caring) play a crucial part in their choice. In addition, the data seems to support the notion of model-observer similarity and relevancy which suggests that role models are more influential when they are similar and relevant to the person. Consequently, high performance sports starts may not be relevant role models for many young women.

The authors suggest that, since the largest domain from which adolescent girls nominate their role model is their family, family members should be involved in sport initiatives and programmes, particularly mothers.

Methodology

Survey; group discussions

Source of reference

European Physical Education Review, 11(2), 153-170

Web reference

http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journal.aspx?pid=105544