A family affair? Exploring the influence of childhood sport socialisation on young adults' leisure-sport careers in north-west England

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Abstract

Based on interviews conducted with 19 young adults aged 30–35-years-old living in north-west England, this paper examines the features of childhood sport socialisation that typically precede high levels of leisure-sport participation in adulthood. The evidence suggests that the extent to which respondents were invested with different experiences of sport socialisation by their parents was influenced by financial and transport constraints, whether parents had themselves participated in sport, and the extent of parental encouragement. Those with the highest levels of adulthood participation tended to have two sports active parents who encouraged them to participate in leisure-sport, typically for enjoyment and the ‘love' of sport, and who experienced fewer financial and transport constraints than other parents. These respondents were also more likely, to have inherited sporting habituses and values from both parents who were in turn more able, and likely to purposively invest their offspring with different resources during childhood as an aspect of family-based leisure relationships. The evidence suggests, however, that each of the identified features of childhood sport socialisation are necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for promoting high levels of leisure-sport participation during adulthood. Finally, the article concludes that sport policies may help raise the overall level of participation among the population, but frequent, and perhaps more health promoting, participation may remain confined to a minority who benefited from the required kind of sports socialisation in their childhood families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-304
JournalLeisure Studies
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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