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Physical activity: a family affair
Physical activity: a family affair

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This free course has built on your own experience of socialisation into sport and explored the role of the family in this process. A number of social and psychological factors have been considered and it is important to acknowledge these do not exist in isolation but all work together to influence athletic development.

The main learning points of this course include the following:

  • Families influence athletic development through providing opportunities for their children.
  • More active parents are likely to have more active children. A study showed children of two active parents were 5.8 times as likely to be active as children of two inactive parents (Moore et al., 1991).
  • Expectancy-value theory (Eccles, 1993; Eccles et al., 1983) states that if parents perceive sport to be an important achievement domain they will provide more frequent opportunities for their child to participate in sporting activities.
  • Some studies indicate a ‘parental gender stereotype’ among parents as they are more likely to partake in sport and physical activity with their sons than their daughters and are more likely to take their sons to sporting events, although attitudes may have changed in more recent years.
  • Certain family characteristics strongly support participation in youth sport. These include parents who achieved high standards within sport, are of relatively high socioeconomic status, support the child financially and dedicate time, and own a car, as well as there being two parents, a small family size, and children attending independent school.