Benefits and challenges associated with sport participation by children and parents from low-income families


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Abstract

Objectives:The first purpose of this study was to examine low-income parents' and their children's perceptions of the benefits associated with participation in youth sport. The second purpose was to examine parents' perceptions of the challenges associated with providing their children sporting opportunities.Design:Interpretive Description qualitative approach (Thorne, 2008).Methods:Thirty-five individual interviews were conducted with parents and children from 17 low-income families. Data were transcribed and subjected to interpretive description analytic techniques.Results:Analysis produced three main findings: (1) Parents and children reported that sport participation was associated with a range of personal and social developmental benefits; (2) Parents reported that several remaining barriers and constraints restricted the extent to which their children could engage in sport and gain sustained developmental benefits; and, (3) Parents offered several possible solutions to the problem of engaging their children in sport.Conclusions:Findings demonstrate the value and importance of providing sport to children from low-income families, but highlight that increased efforts are needed to overcome remaining barriers and sustain long-term participation and benefits.

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