Purpose: The rise of sport specialization can jeopardize the opportunities for families of low socioeconomic status (SES) to participate in organized sport. However, obtaining an athletic scholarship may be a motivating factor for low SES youth to sport specialize. Yet, the experiences of low SES athletes in sport participation are not well known. Method: We used an Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to explore experiences of low SES families with children participating in sport and how this may be impacted by the current youth sport culture that promotes sport specialization. We engaged in semi-structured interviews with 12 low SES parents. Results: The following 4 interrelated themes emerged: (a) Benefits of youth sport participation, (b) Negatives and/or barriers to youth sport participation, (c) Strategies to get involved in youth sport, and (d) Facilitators for youth sport participation. Conclusions: Findings indicate that while low SES youth sport parents are motivated to involve their children in sports, there are many barriers that hinder their opportunities for their child to participate in organized sports. These issues are exacerbated by the current youth sport culture which emphasizes sport specialization with very few existing facilitators to involve their child in organize sport.
We are incredibly grateful to the youth sport parents who participated in this study for sharing their stories with us.
Hernandez MI, Miller EC, Prieto LA, Columna L, Biese KM, Bell DR. The Current Youth Sport Culture and its Impact on Sport Participation Experiences of Low Socioeconomic Status Families. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2023 Mar 20;21(2), Article 9.
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