Literature Review On Sport Participation And After School Drop Out Rates


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1 The affects on sport participation with regards to the absence of education
Coalter et al. (1994) illustrated that those who stayed in education after the minimal school leaving age had higher rates of sports participation than the school leavers. This statement inspired the author of this review to research, and essentially ascertain what implications and constraints occur in an adolescent and adult environment when considering participating in sport.

1.1 Benefits attained by society via exercise and sport
The Department of Health (2004) state in a recent report that Sport and physical activity can help decrease the likelihood of developing diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes by up to 50%, furthermore the report states that physical activity can reduce the risk of suffering a premature death by approximately 20-30%. These staggering statistics demonstrate the powerful impact physical activity can have in regards to combating health risks in the UK. The benefits to health that derive from adherence in physical activity and sport are overwhelming, however, health is not the only benefit to be obtained from an active society. Sullivan, C. (1998. cited in Collins and Kay, 2003) found that sport can help to encourage the growth of community, family and personal cohesion as well as help reduce intensity of youth delinquency. From the observations made in this paragraph it is feasible to suggest that having an active nation will result in a wide spectrum of benefits.

1.2 Current participation levels in the UK
Participation in sport, particularly in adults is shown to be rapidly decreasing. In The general Household Survey (2002, cited in National statistics) it was discovered that with the exclusion of walking, only 43% of the population had participated in some form of exercise in the four weeks prior to the research interview. It is accepted with recent statistics that participation rates in the UK are not adhering to the advised five times a week from the Department of Health, the author feels this is a worrying reality as there are many health implications resulting from a national neglect towards exercise.

2 Obesity levels in the UK suggest decreasing level in participation
The following statistic helps to depict the current situation in regards to obesity levels in the UK. According to The Health Survey for England: Adult Reference Tables (1997, cited in The Department of Health) “Obesity has risen dramatically over the last five years - 17 per cent of men are now obese, compared with 13 per cent in 1993, and almost 20 per cent of women are now obese compared with 16 per cent in 1993.

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” It is of the authors personal belief that exercise is broadly accepted as a tool eligible for combating the emergent problem in society that is obesity, this belief can be further supported by the research of Twisk et al. (1997) who found that “Long-term exposure to daily physical activity was inversely related to body fatness.” In addition to this, more recent research concurs with Twisk et al. (1997) as Alfano et al. (2002) found past participation in sport displayed a linear relationship in retaining a lower Body Mass Index later on in life. With exercise regarded then as one of the more effectual preventatives to obesity, it is considered appropriate, and furthermore necessary by the author that research is carried out to ascertain the constraints evident that in-turn affect and prevent the continuation in physical activity throughout ones life.

2.1 Extra curricular sporting activity and the role it plays in reducing inactivity
It is of the author’s belief that the more sport an individual plays whilst at school the more likely (S)he is to continue this practice after compulsory education has ceased. This personal opinion has the approval of Paffenbarger et al. (1984, cited in Hall et al. 2002) who “Found that men who participated in varsity or intramural sports in college were likelier than non-participants to remain active in later life.”

2.2 Constraints/Reasons evident in an adolescent environment for not partaking in extra curricular sporting activity
It seems that present research has determined that partaking in extra curricular sporting activity whilst at school helps to encourage a higher rate of activity later on in life. However, Paffenbarger et al. (2002) fail to identify constraints that affect an individual’s decision to partake in extra curricular sporting activities whilst at school. It is of the writer’s belief that constraints such as social issues which might include Intimidation form peers, lack of social confidence and lack of sporting knowledge are all reasons why a child might not feel encouraged to join a football team or a swimming club.

The framework for this belief originates from Bandura’s Social cognitive theory (1986 cited in Bess et al 2003) which suggests an individuals motivation to participate in sport depends on their level of ‘Self-efficacy’ (How able they perceive them self to be).

Dishman et al. (2004 p634) gives further validity to the author’s point of view with the following statement “…Increased self-efficacy directly results in increased physical activity…” However to fully understand why “Self-efficacy” influences and thus determines one’s participation it is first necessary to understand what affects an individuals ‘Self-efficacy’, these factors include:

• Performance accomplishments- Achieving personal goals increase self-efficacy and thus ones desire to partake in exercise/sport
• Vicarious experiences- Previous negative experiences will discourage an individual to seek sporting activity
• Physiological- An individual may not think of them self as an eligible candidate for exercise/sport e.g. weight
• Verbal persuasion- Often individuals need encouragement to participate in sport/exercise.

(Please note that self-efficacy is applicable to the constraints that occur in an adult’s environment also)

After carrying out the proposed research question the author hopes to determine what constraints evident in adolescent years subsequently affect the inactive individuals of present day and furthermore how inactivity can be avoided.

3 Constraints evident after secondary education (Adults)
If the benefits of participating in sport/physical activity are universally recognised, then why is it that adult (18+) citizens of the UK choose to ignore sport and exercise as one of their paramount priorities? Perhaps the reality is that individuals want to adhere to sport but have numerous constraints in their lives as well as being constantly faced with conflicting commitments that prevent their participation. Weinberg and Gould (2003 p56) suggest that “perceived lack of time, lack of energy, lack of motivation as well as excessive costs” are all factors that contribute to why someone might not partake in exercise. This statement is given additional validity with the concurrence of Chao et al. (2000) who noted that “physical activity takes considerably more time and effort to perform than most other preventative health behaviours…” Chao et al. go on to list the constraints evident in the average individuals’ reality “… Time commitments include time for travel to and from the exercise site, the duration of the activity, and the hygiene following the activity.”

As well as time and energy there are other constraints such as social class. Social class can affect ones decision to partake in exercising. Donnelly (2003, cited in Houlihan 2003 p12)) states that “Statistics consistently show a linear relationship – the higher a person’s income and/or level of education, the more likely he and increasingly she is to participate in sport and physical activity.” From this statement it is possible to ascertain that money and perhaps consequently education, along with individual circumstances all contribute as significant determining factors in relation to an individual’s involvement regarding sport and exercise.

4 Summaries
After reviewing some of the apparent constraints that manifest in an individuals reality, it is possible to look at why the absence of an education institution may prevent or affect the level of participation. When at school it is compulsory for children to partake in physical education. However, post school what obligation or more to the point incentive do these individuals have to continue participating in sport on a regular basis?

After conducting research the author hopes to be able to identify the constraints that exist in both an adolescent and adult environment. Furthermore the author hopes to be able to fully comprehend the implications and the conflicting commitments that often induce an individual’s decision to partake in sport. It is of the writer’s belief that with the constraints recognised it will be more feasible to conclude with solutions to the problems such as obesity and other health disadvantages previously mentioned in this review.

Having gained a greeter and more comprehensive understanding of the reasons and constraints evident in contemporary society, it will be easier to ascertain why there is or perhaps not a relationship between the leaving of school and the decline in sport/exercise participation.


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