Adult Sport Participation and Life Transitions: The Significance of Childhood and Inequality

Haycock, David and Smith, Andy (2017) Adult Sport Participation and Life Transitions: The Significance of Childhood and Inequality. In: Dionigi, Rylee and Gard, Michael (eds). Sport and Physical Activity Across the Lifespan. PalgraveMacmillan, Basingstoike, pp. 195-210. ISBN 978-1-137-48561-8 DOI https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-48562-5

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Abstract

The promotion of Sport For All over the life course is one longstanding justification of national and international policy intended to promote sport participation and physically active lifestyles. Of particular interest has been the need to reduce the age-related drop-off in, and drop-out from, sport upon the completion of full-time education whilst retaining and increasing the small proportion of those who remain sports-active throughout their lives. In the light of concerns about adults’ sport participation, this chapter examines policy aspirations for promoting Sport For All via an analysis of existing data on adult sport participation, the impact of life transitions on engagement in sport over the life course, and how the childhood life stage provides the foundation for unequal propensities in sport participation during adulthood. It is concluded that despite the ideological attraction of Sport For All as a goal of public policy, it remains something of an aspiration rather than a reality, especially in the context of widening social inequalities that often precede participation and help shape the degree to which sporting predispositions formed during childhood generate unequal rates and patterns of adult sport participation. The simple promotion of Sport For All cannot reasonably be expected to mediate the impact of such inequalities, and until this is recognized, stubborn differences in present-day sport participation rates are likely to remain intact, and the unequal lives people currently lead (particularly in neo-liberal economies) are likely to become even more unequal in the future.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sports Science
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2017 14:27
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/9324

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