Tag archives for Research Articles
This article investigates community development and social impacts of hosting an international sport event in a post-war city still marred by social divisions and internal conflict. Focusing on the case of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, this research examines resident perceptions of the recurrent Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series event. The framework of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) guides this inquiry toward understanding how sport events can help facilitate greater unity and peace in transitional settings experiencing persistent social divisions. Qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with residents are supported by findings from a resident survey. The findings illustrate how sport events can help to transform communities in line with SDP goals by fostering spaces for social cohesion, generating collective pride, and offering new senses of possibility and opportunity for the city. These outcomes can occur even if the event organization is not explicitly driven by an SDP mission. Perceptions of trust and neutrality are important factors in how community members assess the event and its organizing body. This research highlights the role of international sport events in community development and calls attention to the importance of understanding local context and engaging a broad range of community members.
Research has explored the benefits and challenges associated with sport participation among youth with physical disabilities (YWPD), however few studies have attempted to understand how sport may facilitate or hinder positive development. Positive youth development (PYD) is a widely used approach to understand youth development through sport, however limited research exists among YWPD. To address this gap, the study adopted Holt and colleagues’ (2017) model of PYD through sport to (a) uncover YWPD’s perspectives on the developmental outcomes associated with organized sport participation and (b) understand perceived social-contextual factors influencing these outcomes. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted among YWPD (N = 9; age between 14-21; seven male participants, two female participants). Outcomes discussed were mostly positive, though some participants reported negative outcomes. Participants experienced positive physical, social, and personal outcomes including the development of life skills. Positive outcomes were largely influenced by a sport climate that was supportive and encouraging, facilitated personal growth and athletic development, and promoted a sense of community and connectedness. These findings further our understanding of the utility of organized sport as a context to promote PYD among YWPD, and suggest that fostering experiences of mastery, belonging, challenge, and autonomy may be critically important.
While the field of Sport for Development (SFD) has grown over the last several decades, there remain gaps within program evaluation. Given that there are multiple models of programming SFD, Goals for Girls, a U.S. based SFD non-profit organization that uses soccer-based trips abroad to empower young women, provided a strong platform for study. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of a SFD trip abroad on American young women. Through interviews with over 30 young women spanning 13-years of programming, three themes and five sub-themes emerged. Collectively, the trips impacted the young women in the areas of relationship building, expansion of perception, and desire for change. The authors suggest that programming like Goals for Girls highlights both the strengths and challenges inherent in SFD.
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.
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.
Every individual across the globe has been, and continues to be, impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Sport for Development (SfD) is a field of work that relies predominantly on in-person, face-to-face, high contact programming. SfD’s work, therefore, was significantly strained due to social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders. This study compiled interviews with administrators in 10 South African based SfD organizations, assessing how they innovated and adjusted to the pandemic, as well as which strategies best helped them successfully manage change. Major findings include a need for collaboration among SfD organizations, a strong focus on creativity and innovation in the field, and a need for organizations to balance structure and flexibility to allow responsiveness to changing needs. These strategies should be integrated as a focus within SfD beyond the pandemic, as they are long-term success strategies that will allow SfD organizations to be prepared for future pivotal decision points in their lifespans.
Researchers interviewed 27 youth sport coaches and physical education teachers from Jordan and Tajikistan who previously participated in a sport for development and peace (SDP) train-the-trainer program. The purpose was to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of participants and how they used sports activities in their positions of leadership to foster conditions that conceptually correspond to a culture of positive peace. Using an inductive-coding analysis, researchers identified two main dimensions discussed in this paper: (a) Changes in Everyday Lived Realities and (b) Practical Strategies for Fostering Nonviolence. Participants mentioned changes in their attitudes and behaviors as well as in youth athletes’ attitudes and behaviors on and off the field. New strategies involved peace education, conflict resolution skills, and lessons learned on the field. Findings from this study provide a better understanding of some of the lived experiences of sport coaches and physical education teachers as stakeholders promoting a positive peace years after being trained in SDP work. Implications of the present findings call for supporting SDP stakeholders’ vital involvement in social initiatives that work to address both observable and unobservable factors which threaten to divide youth.
Against the background of ever-rising non-communicable disease rates, an area that has received increased attention from sport-for-development practitioners and academics is sport-for-health (SFH). SFH projects attempt to contribute to the development of healthy lifestyle behavior and physically active societies through sport-related programs and interventions. The purpose of this paper was to explore the socio-managerial challenges and opportunities of a netball-based SFH program in Tonga. Based on local focus group and interview data, findings were grouped under five overarching themes: strategic management of volunteer network, sociocultural barriers, public space management, events and tournaments as incentives, and collaboration across local and national sports. In discussing these findings in context, we provide implications for managing culturally sensitive SFH projects in the Pacific region and beyond.
Leadership is critical to the success of sport for development (SFD) organizations that operate in environments characterized by limited resources, growing competition, and blurred institutional boundaries. Previous research has primarily explored the efficacy of different leadership styles within SFD contexts and examined how leadership contributes to key dimensions of organizational capacity, performance, and other related concepts. Servant leadership and shared leadership have emerged as two particularly viable frameworks, yet there remains limited knowledge of how these approaches are developed and related in SFD. The current study is based on surveys from 100 employees of SFD organizations and utilized regression analysis to examine the relationship between salient organizational factors, servant leadership, and shared leadership. Results indicate that after controlling for salient organizational factors, servant leadership explains a significant portion of the variance in shared leadership. The discussion focuses on the theoretical and practical implications of these findings and highlights key areas for future research.
This qualitative research relied on in-depth interviews to understand the experiences of at-risk girls who participated in CrossFit. Sports and physical activity-based programs have long been used to address social problems and offer new opportunities for at-risk youth. These programs are often designed keeping the youth in settings with their peers. In this study, four at-risk girls were integrated into traditional CrossFit classes that were more representative of their lived realities, exposing them to participants of different ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We combined the strengths perspective and hope theory to examine their experiences. Our findings demonstrated that integrated fitness programs can help at-risk girls achieve successful outcomes. This research also underscored the utility of combining the strengths perspective with hope theory, as we found that hope was an essential element that allowed the girls to realize their inherent strengths and to apply these strengths to other aspects of their lives.
Sport-based positive youth development (PYD) programs are recognized as important contexts for promoting life skill development and transfer, especially among socially vulnerable youth. Past research has examined the role of social agents (e.g., coaches, staff, parents) in life skill development and transfer. Although peers are identified as a critical social agent in sport-based PYD contexts, little English-speaking literature has examined the influence of peers on youth’s life skill outcomes. This study examines multiple peer influences contributing to life skill outcomes among 483 youth involved in a sport-based PYD program. Cohen’s d demonstrated improved self-control, effort, teamwork, social competence, and transfer of learning outcomes from pre- to post-program. Using a series of hierarchical linear regression models, results demonstrate the degree of life skills among peers in one’s group, the youth’s relative life skills within their group, and the number of friends in one’s group predicted life skills scores at posttest after controlling for pretest scores and demographics. These findings point to the importance of peers as significant social influences contributing to youth’s life skill outcomes in a sport-based PYD program. Sport practitioners can intentionally promote youth development through facilitated group processing, optimal peer group composition, and autonomy supportive staff practices.
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 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.
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.
Background: The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of an exclusive, residential cerebral palsy (CP) soccer camp on social identity for youth with CP. Using a basic qualitative methods approach, the aim of this study was to explain the six-day CP soccer camp experience from the campers’ perspective, guided by the three processes of Social Identity Theory (SIT), to determine if a CP soccer camp setting impacted the development of the participants’ social identity. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were collected online through video software from 13 participants who were purposefully sampled between the ages of 10-18. Qualitative data was initially analyzed through a deductive coding lens, then further analyzed through an inductive coding process. Results: Findings suggest that participation in an intentionally designed, exclusive, residential CP soccer camp supported two of the three processes in SIT and provided opportunities for youth with CP to feel connected and similar to others with disabilities. Participants enjoyed being around other individuals with CP in a supportive sport environment. Conclusion: This study indicated that CP soccer camp assisted in the campers’ social identity development in two of the three processes of SIT. Future research implications are discussed.
Adolescent girls of color experience systemic and interpersonal risk factors that intersect on the basis of their race, gender, and age. These risks negatively influence their rates of obesity, engagement in physical activity, and overall health and well-being. Sport-based positive youth development (PYD) programs are known to address risks and build protective factors, yet little is known about how these programs specifically impact adolescent girls of color. This mixed method study examines the impact of a sport-based PYD summer camp on the holistic health of adolescent girls of color. We conducted nine qualitative interviews and compared changes in mean scores on pre- and post-camp survey measures for 35 adolescent girls of color. In our findings, we identify underlying program mechanisms and design components that influenced girls’ experiences, participation, and engagement. Further, we describe positive changes reported by girls in relation to their physical, social, psychological, and spiritual health and well-being. We also present an emergent theory of change to serve as a guide for how sport-based PYD programs can be leveraged to address intersectional health and well-being outcomes among adolescent girls of color.
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.
The transition from youth to adulthood in African nations has changed markedly in recent years. Social and economic challenges often lead to the creation of a disengaged and alienated generation struggling to participate actively in society. Drawing on the personalized accounts of a group of youth leaders experiencing such conditions, this paper presents empirical findings from a small-scale qualitative study of one Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) initiative that, through various community-based projects, aims to provide personal, social, and educational support for young people in Mzuzu, a city in northern Malawi. The paper seeks to uncover some of the reasons behind youth disengagement within this particular context and explores how empowerment-based mentoring is used by youth leaders to bring about change in the lives of the young people with whom they work. The paper concludes that amid the wider tensions and anxieties of youth transition in sub-Saharan Africa, strategic and intentional relationship building (through mentoring) can provide a catalyst for personal development, intergenerational connection, and social change.
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.
Participatory Evaluation (PE) has been adopted as a methodology in Sport for Development (SFD); however, there is a wide scope of conceptualizing how and what a PE research process may entail. Specifically, more nuance and insight are needed regarding how PE is a formidable research process between SFD researcher and SFD organizational staff. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the organic and planned methodological processes of conducting a PE. Hence, this study provides empirical insight into conducting a PE with an SFD project located in Vietnam. Drawing from my fieldwork, I detail the initiation of the PE, the process of establishing methods, data collection, data analysis, and results, and then comment on the researcher-to-practitioner tensions that arose. The data highlights that while participatory research (PE in this case) is increasing, there are processual considerations and limitations that need to be accounted for in the field. Inasmuch, this paper adds to pertinent methodological discussions by providing an in-depth account of PE research in SFD practice.
Education is regarded as a human right and fundamental to achieving other human rights, such as decent work. Education is essential for developing human potential, and it can help address growing social and economic inequality. However, for many Indigenous populations in the global North, realizing their fullest potential thorough mainstream education is mired with difficulties, and this has had serious implications for employability and livelihoods creation. This paper presents research undertaken in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ) where the Taranaki Rugby Football Union (TRFU) has partnered with local education provider Feats to establish the Māori and Pasifika Rugby Academy (MPRA). The purpose of the partnership is to provide an alternative education pathway to increase livelihoods opportunities. Undertaking a capital and livelihoods analysis of the TRFU and Feats partnership has allowed us to see more clearly different aspects of the MPRA program and bring to the fore other features of the learners’ journeys. While the building of human capital through education is important, of greater significance is the cultural and psychological capital that is built through program attendance.