Category archives for Sport and Health

Improving adult women’s emotional health in rural Kenya through community soccer and the role of social support: A mixed-methods analysis

This study examines the contribution of a recreational adult women’s soccer league in rural Kenya to the development goals of enhancing social support, building community cohesion, and improving women’s emotional health. Using a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach, 702 members of a women’s health and literacy program, 229 of whom played in the program’s soccer league, completed surveys about various aspects of their lives. A five-item scale, perceived support from friends (PSF), queried women’s access to emotional and instrumental support; an exploratory factor analysis confirmed this scale’s suitability as a single measure. Bivariate and multivariate analyses examined attributes associated with PSF. Based on these findings, a purposive sample of 229 soccer league members participated in focus group discussions. Women’s perceptions were examined using thematic analysis. Quantitative findings indicated that soccer league members had greater odds of reporting high social support than their non-soccer-playing peers. Qualitative findings from the final analysis sample of 201 women suggested that soccer provided a social space in which team members formed a network of friendships within and across villages, providing emotional and instrumental support they associated with decreased stress and improved well-being. Given the positive effects of soccer on adult women’s lives, similar programs, particularly in rural settings with limited resources, should be considered as development strategies.

Moving beyond disciplinary silos: The potential for transdisciplinary research in Sport for Development

The Sport for Development (SfD) field is transdisciplinary by nature, and yet scholars tend to stay within their disciplinary perspectives in their study of SfD. There is a need for more collaborative and collective approaches in SfD research. Transdisciplinary research facilitates conceptual, theoretical, philosophical, and methodological innovations that transcend disciplinary boundaries, creating new knowledge that can advance a field. The purpose of this paper is to critically review the disciplinary trends in SfD research within (respectively) sport sociology, social anthropology, sport management, public health, leisure, sport pedagogy, and sport psychology, with a particular focus on where there may be intersection, duplication, obfuscation, and omission between these disciplines. Disciplinary intersections are then considered, along with gaps in the SfD evidence base that are ripe for transdisciplinary research. The paper concludes with an exploration of possibilities for future transdisciplinary research in SfD.

“It makes me want to take more steps”: Racially and economically marginalized youth experiences with and perceptions of Fitbit Zips® in a sport-based youth development program

Healthy and high levels of physical activity can positively impact youth development, physiological and psychosocial well-being, academic performance, and reduce the risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic illnesses. Various health and physical activity interventions have started to engage with wearable technologies (e.g., Fitbit®) to objectively measure and manage levels of physical activity, for both academics and practitioners alike. The purpose of this study is to explore the potential utility of digital activity trackers, and the subsequent experiences of wearing such devices, toward increased engagement with physical activity among racially and economically marginalized youth. To this end, we had 20 youth of color wear a Fitbit Zip® over a 23-week period during their participation in a sport-based youth development program. At the conclusion of 23 weeks, 17 of the students reflected on their experiences by taking part in one of three focus groups. The participants shared predominantly positive experiences with and attitudes toward the devices. While there were some sentiments of indifference, most participants acknowledged increased levels of physical activity and awareness of the resultant health benefits. These results further highlight the potential value of integrating digital activity trackers in sport-based youth development programming and stress the importance of culturally appropriate expectations and training.

The Contribution of Sport to the Sustainable Development Goals: Insights from Commonwealth Games Associations

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are hailed as a common language to unite a global commitment towards a change of trajectory regarding social, economic, and environmental development issues. Although not overtly cited within the SDGs or their related targets, sport has been widely accepted and promoted as an enabler of social change and a mechanism through which to strategically map and measure commitments to sustainability. However, despite the numerous case study examples of specific sport-based programs that have demonstrated the potential of sport to contribute to the SDGs, there is limited knowledge about the currency and value that the SDGs hold for key sport stakeholders in development, and a shortage of concrete evidence to assess the uptake and integration at the level of national policy. In an attempt to address this shortage, this paper presents insights from the analysis of secondary data collected by the Commonwealth Games Federation from 62 Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) in relation to their perspectives on the contribution of sport to the SDGs. The paper provides examples of specific areas of strength, or those in need of further development, to present a baseline for the current state of play in understanding the contribution from individual CGAs to the SDGs.

Principles-of-action used by an eductrainer to create social bonds through sport in a psychosocial intervention program

This article utilizes the theories of social bond and carnal sociology to analyze the role of the eductrainer in the sport-based intervention program DesÉquilibres. Methodologically, an action research study was carried out with three cohorts of adolescents. Our qualitative data collection was based on (a) interviews with 27 adolescents aged 14 to 17 years (cohorts 1 and 3), (b) a focus group of five eductrainers (paired with cohort 1), and (c) observant participation of cohorts 2 and 3. A thematic analysis revealed four principles-of-action constituting the social bond where risk-taking and its staging play an essential role: (a) a risky proposition to create the social bond, (b) recognition of the adult-in-the-making to anchor the social bond, (c) organization of the risky proposition to scaffold the social bond, and (d) physical commitment of the eductrainer to embody the social bond. Research has shown the potential of risk-taking to create and strengthen social bonds in the context of sports-based interventions.

The Americanization of sport for development and peace: Examining American SDP intern experiences

This study expands the Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) research focusing on the impact of national values and ideas on SDP program implementation. As SDP interns are instrumental in implementing many SDP programs, it is important to identify how their national values and ideas affect their work in the field. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the experiences of Americans who had worked as SDP interns. Through the lens of Americanization, we examine the reproduction and distribution of values and ideas of American SDP interns working abroad. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 11 former American SDP interns to explore their perspectives and reflections on the work they carried out as American SDP interns. Throughout the interviews, American ideas rooted in neoliberalism, capitalism, and education appeared as conceptual influences that were woven into their SDP internship experience. The findings indicated that, in their role as American SDP interns, the participants were at once complicit in and resistant to reproducing inequitable power relations, constantly wrestling with personal ideologies and American sporting values that did not align with cultural and social norms of the host countries. Implications of this study emphasize the continued need for SDP analyses to identify and critically consider nation-specific values and ideas of SDP workers and their impact on the local implementation of SDP programs.

“I feel happy when I surf because it takes stress from my mind”: An Initial Exploration of Program Theory within Waves for Change Surf Therapy in Post-Conflict Liberia

Surf therapy is a novel form of sport for development (SFD) intervention being utilized to support well-being within post-conflict settings. There is currently little research exploring surf therapy program theory in SFD contexts. Theoretical exploration is important for optimization, monitoring, and further expansion of service delivery. This research utilized pragmatic qualitative methods to explore participant-perceived impacts and outcomes within the Waves for Change (W4C) surf therapy intervention, as implemented in Harper, Liberia, that aims to support youth well-being. Twenty-three past W4C participants (17 males and 6 females, mean age = 15.8 years, SD = 3.6 years, range 11-25 years) took part in semistructured interviews about their experiences of surf therapy. Data were analyzed through constant comparative analysis. Six impacts and outcomes were identified within three intervention domains: Social, Skills Curriculum/Bananas Culture, and Surfing. The findings highlight sport as an adaptable vehicle for improving well-being and skills within successful intervention delivery while providing a foundation for further in-depth exploration of program theory. Furthermore, the findings provide empirical evidence on how to optimize and proliferate surf therapy within other post-conflict settings. The findings also provide transferable conclusions for the improvement of SFD more generally.

“Putting kids first”: An exploration of the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model to youth development in Eswatini

This exploratory study examined the potential of using sport as a creative and engaging context to facilitate life skills development in socially vulnerable youth in Eswatini, who face major context-specific challenges to their healthy development. The sport for development program was designed using the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model with adaptations made to fit the cultural context. Participants in the program were local coaches (N=3 males) and socially vulnerable youth (N=48, 25 females and 23 males) aged 11-15 years old, recruited from a community-based organization. Coaches were trained as the primary implementers of the program. Data collection employed a mixed-methods approach that triangulated data from surveys, learning quizzes, focus groups, and interviews. Findings supported the potential value of the program in cultivating the development and possible transfer of personal responsibility (e.g., self-direction skills such as goal setting and decision making) and social responsibility (e.g., interpersonal skills such as respect, self-control, conflict resolution, and caring) behaviors. The study provided preliminary support for the contextual utility of engendering these developmental outcomes in an environment where youth are facing a major health threat (i.e., HIV/AIDS) and community challenges (e.g., gender-based violence, poverty). Continued investment in long-term sport for development programming in Eswatini is warranted.

A cross-sectional study of sexual health knowledge, attitudes, and reported behavior among Zambian adolescent girl participants in a football program

Limited research has assessed whether sports participation can be linked to decreasing risky sexual behavior among adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa. The current study aimed to assess whether participation in a football league that provides sexual and reproductive health and rights lessons before each football match strengthened adolescent Zambian girls’ sexual health knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. Adolescent female participants in the girls-only football league run by the organization Futebol dá Força (FDF, n=120) completed a questionnaire assessing sexual health knowledge, reported attitudes, and reported behavior. Logistic regressions were used to assess associations between participants’ self-reported program exposure and their sexual health knowledge, reported attitudes, and reported behavior. After examining all exposure levels and adjusting for age, participants with at least six months of reported exposure to the FDF program had better sexual health knowledge and attitudes compared to those reporting less than six months exposure (AOR 4.74, 95% CI 1.70-13.19). Those in the more exposed group also had higher odds of reporting using a condom at last sex (AOR=11.64, 95% CI=1.08-124.57). These findings suggest that sports-based educational programs may improve sexual health knowledge and attitudes among African adolescent girls, potentially reducing the risk of sexually transmitted disease and early aged pregnancy.

Decolonisation in practice: A case study of the Kicking AIDS Out programme in Jamaica

Similar to traditional development, neo-colonial tendencies are apparent in the sport-for-development and peace (SDP) movement. As a result, a large majority of SDP scholars perceive the notion of ‘decolonisation’ as displacing the antecedents of colonialism. SDP scholars are advocating for a postcolonial approach to future SDP initiatives that will help decolonise the structures of hegemony that are in place. Although the authors of this article agree with these sentiments (and many more), and that the cause is justified, we however postulate that the postcolonial critique presented only offers an early foundation from which to decolonise SDP. Therefore, to build upon these foundations, there is a need for a methodological approach to guide critical engagement in SDP policy and research. Thus we propose the critical-participatory-paradigm (CPP) for consideration in this regard, using Darnell & Hayhurst’s1 points that the time is ripe to pursue a decolonising process that challenges structural inequalities. Through a qualitative evaluation research study of the Jamaican Kicking-AIDS-Out programme, we highlight how the CPP provides an alternative philosophical and methodological framework for decolonisation. Even though decolonisation is not instant, the principles of the CPP resulted in certain principles that could be followed allowing for consciousness raising and the enhancement of control in the research process by all vested interests.

Yielding healthy community with sport?

Research has linked an enhanced sense of community to sport programme retention, while literature outside of sport suggest increased sense of community is linked to improved health. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to better understand the association between sport communities and health behaviours and health role modelling outcomes. Athletes and non-athletes were surveyed to better understand the unique contributions sport participation might have on health-related outcomes. Surveys included demographic information, the 21-item Sense of Community in Sport scale, and various health behaviours and outcomes. Surveys were completed by 458 athletes and 323 university social organisation members (i.e., fraternities and sororities) in the United States. The results provided limited support for the positive influence of sense of community on health-related outcomes and indicated that athletes reported higher levels of sense of community (M = 75.17, SD = 10.158) than university social organisations participants (M = 72.17, SD = 12.134). When controlling for sense of community, surveyed athletes were more likely to engage in healthier behaviours (i.e., binge drink less, consider themselves role models in terms of exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and use less tobacco). This work highlights the community characteristics found in sport settings that can contribute to positive health outcomes.

Evaluation protocol: Netball to promote physical and mental health in Samoa and Tonga

Justin Richards1, Emma Sherry2, Olivia Philpott3, Lewis Keane4, Nico Schulenkorf5, Adrian Bauman1 1 University of Sydney, School of Public Health & Charles Perkins Centre, Australia 2 La Trobe University, Centre for Sport and Social Impact, Australia 3 Netball Australia, Australia 4 Cricket Fiji, Fiji 5 University of Technology Sydney, Department of Sport Management, Australia Citation: […]

A systematic review of the mental health impacts of sport and physical activity programmes for adolescents in post-conflict settings

Alexander Hamilton1, Charlie Foster1, Justin Richards2 1 British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches to Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, UK 2 Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Australia Citation: Hamilton, A.; Foster, C.; Richards, J. A systematic review of the […]

The influence of sport participation on quality of life perceptions among inmates in Nigerian prisons

Ayobami Honestus Obadiora1 1 Obafemi Awolowo University, Department of Physical and Health Education, Nigeria Citation: Obadiora, A.H. The influence of sport participation on quality of life perceptions among inmates in Nigerian prisons. Journal of Sport for Development. 2016; 4(6): 36-43. Download article as PDF Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects […]

An own goal in Sport for Development: Time to change the playing field (Commentary)

Ben Sanders1 1 University of the Western Cape, Department of Sport, Recreation and Exercise Sciences; Monitoring and Evaluation Director, Grassroot Soccer, South Africa Citation: Sanders, B. An own goal in Sport for Development: time to change the playing field. Journal of Sport for Development. 2016; 4(6): 1-5. Download article as PDF Introduction Sport for Development […]

Improving Life Satisfaction, Self-Concept, and Happiness of Former Gang Members Using Games and Psychological Skills Training

Stephanie J. Hanrahan1, Maria de Lourdes Francke Ramm 2 1 University of Queensland, Australia 2 Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico Download full PDF Abstract The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of games and mental skills training on Mexican former gang members and drug users’ self-concept, life satisfaction, perceived control, and happiness. Male (n […]

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Understanding Perceptions of Effective Strategies and Outcomes in a Female Youth-Driven Physical Activity-Based Life Skills Programme

Corliss Bean1, Tanya Forneris1, Michelle Fortier1 1 University of Ottawa, Department of Human Kinetics, Canada Citation: Bean, C., Forneris, T., Fortier, M. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Understanding Perceptions of Effective Strategies and Outcomes in a Female Youth-Driven Physical Activity-Based Life Skills Programme. Journal of Sport for Development. 2015; 3(4): 28-40. Download article as PDF […]

Adapted Surfing as a Tool to Promote Inclusion and Rising Disability Awareness in Portugal

Joao Taborda Lopes1 1 Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre, Pediatric Department, Portugal Citation: Lopes, J.T. Adapted Surfing as a Tool to Promote Inclusion and Rising Disability Awareness in Portugal. Journal of Sport for Development. 2015; 3(5): 4-10. Download article as PDF Abstract Adapted surfing is an outdoor activity that takes place in naturally and constantly […]

Volume 2, Issue 3 published

Publication of Volume 2, Issue 3 The Journal of Sport for Development (JSFD) is pleased to announce the publication of its third issue. Please click here to download the full PDF of the issue. JSFD’s mission is to advance, examine and disseminate evidence and best practices for programs and interventions that use sport to promote […]

Formative evaluation of a UK community-based sports intervention to prevent smoking among children and young people: SmokeFree Sports

Maria Romeo-Velilla1,2, Caryl Beynon3, Rebecca C. Murphy1, Ciara E. McGee1, Toni A. Hilland1,4, Daniel Parnell1,5, Gareth Stratton1,6, Lawrence Foxweather1 1 Liverpool John Moores University, Physical Activity Exchange, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, UK 2 Staffordshire University, Centre for Sport, Health and Exercise Research, UK 3 Liverpool John Moores University, Centre for Public Health, […]

Volume 1, Issue 2 published

Publication of Volume 1, Issue 2 The Journal of Sport for Development (JSFD) is pleased to announce the publication of its fourth issue. Click here to download a full PDF of Issue 2 JSFD’s mission is to advance, examine and disseminate evidence and best practices for programs and interventions that use sport to promote development, […]

Volume 1, Issue 1 published

Publication of Volume 1, Issue 1 The Journal of Sport for Development (JSFD) is pleased to announce the publication of its first Issue. JSFD is the first peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to exclusively publishing research from the field of Sport for Development (SFD). The journal was developed in response to a need to establish a […]