Original paper| Volume 13, ISSUE 3, P318-322, May 2010

Download started.


The impact of socioeconomic position on sport participation among South Australian youth

Published:September 30, 2009DOI:


      Organised sport among youth makes a substantial contribution to daily energy expenditure. This study investigated socioeconomic gradients in sport participation and predictors of participation. A representative sample of young South Australians (10–15 y; n = 1737) was surveyed on organised sport participation in the previous 12 months, and predictors derived from the Children's Physical Activity Correlates scale and a parent survey. Four constructs were derived: ‘is it worth it?’ (perceived outcomes); ‘am I able?’ (perceived competency); ‘reinforcing’ (parental support); and ‘enabling’ (perceived barriers, from the parent survey). Socioeconomic position (SEP) was operationalised by an area-level indicator, the Socioeconomic Indicator for Advantage (SEIFA), split into tertiles. Sport participation was higher among high (highest SEIFA tertile) compared with low (lowest SEIFA tertile) SEP children. All predictors except ‘am I able?’ were positively associated with sport participation among boys and girls. Of these predictors, the ‘enabling’ construct varied by SEP among both boys and girls, with high SEP children reporting fewer barriers to participation. High SEP girls reported higher scores on ‘reinforcing’ and ‘is it worth it?’ than their low SEP counterparts. Low SEP girls reported lower levels of both instrumental and affective support from parents to play sport. There are distinct SEP gradients in sport participation, as well as its psychosocial and environmental predictors among South Australian youth. Low SEP girls are the most disadvantaged in terms of parental support to participate in sport. Interventions targeting this vulnerable group are urgently required.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Katzmarzyk P.T.
        • Malina R.M.
        Contribution of organised sports participation to estimated daily energy expenditure in youth.
        Pediatr Exerc Sci. 1998; 10: 378-386
        • Wickel E.E.
        • Eisenmann J.C.
        Contribution of youth sport to total daily physical activity among 6- to 12-yr-old boys.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007; 39: 1493-1500
        • Booth M.L.
        • Okely A.D.
        • Chey T.
        • et al.
        Patterns of activity energy expenditure among Australian adolescents.
        J Phys Act Health. 2004; 1: 246-258
        • Hoffman J.R.
        • Kang J.
        • Faigenbaum A.D.
        • et al.
        Recreational sports participation is associated with enhanced physical fitness in children.
        Res Sports Med. 2005; 13: 149-161
        • Tremblay M.S.
        • Willms J.D.
        Is the Canadian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity?.
        Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003; 27: 1100-1105
        • Jiang X.
        • Prosser L.E.K.
        • Hawkins K.
        Children's self-concept and participation in extra-curricular sport activities. Self-concept motivation and identity: where to from here?.
        in: Proceedings of the third international Biennial self-research conference; 2004 July 4–7. University of Western Sydney, Berlin (Germany)2004: 399-408.
        • Pate R.R.
        • Trost S.G.
        • Levin S.
        • et al.
        Sports participation and health-related behaviors among US youth.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000; 154: 904-911
        • Salmon J.
        • Timperio A.
        • Cleland V.
        • et al.
        Trends in children's physical activity and weight status in high and low socioeconomic status areas of Melbourne, Victoria, 1985–2001.
        Aust N Z J Public Health. 2005; 29: 337-342
        • Santos M.P.
        • Esculcas C.
        • Mota J.
        The relationship between socioeconomic status and adolescents’ organised and nonorganised physical activities.
        Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2004; 16: 210-218
        • Lampert T.
        • Mensink G.B.M.
        • Romahn N.
        • et al.
        Physical activity among children and adolescents in Germany. Results of the German Health I Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS). Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung.
        Gesundheitsschut. 2007; 50: 634-642
        • Sallis J.F.
        • Zakarian J.M.
        • Hovell M.F.
        • et al.
        Ethnic, socioeconomic, and sex differences in physical activity among adolescents.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 1996; 49: 125-134
        • Lewis N.
        • Dollman J.
        • Dale M.
        Trends in physical activity behaviours and attitudes among South Australian youth between 1985–2004.
        J Sci Med Sport. 2007; 10: 418-427
        • Schaben J.
        • Welk G.J.
        • Joens-Matre R.
        • et al.
        The predictive utility of the children's physical activity correlates (CPAC) scale across multiple grade levels.
        J Phys Act Health. 2006; 3: 59-69
        • Welk G.J.
        The youth physical activity promotion model: a conceptual bridge between theory and practice.
        Quest. 1999; 51: 5-23
        • Sallis J.F.
        • Johnson M.F.
        • Calfas K.J.
        • et al.
        Assessing perceived physical environmental variables that may influence physical activity.
        Res Q Exerc Sport. 1997; 68: 345-351
      1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Information Paper: Socio-Economic Indices for Areas: Australia 2001. Canberra (Australia): Australian Bureau of Statistics; 2003.

        • Duncan S.
        • Duncan T.
        • Strycker L.
        Sources and types of social support in youth physical activity.
        Health Psychol. 2005; 24: 3-10
        • Humbert M.L.
        • Chad K.E.
        • Spink K.S.
        • et al.
        Factors that influence physical activity participation among high- and low-SES youth.
        Qual Health Res. 2006; 16: 467-483
        • Hoefer W.R.
        • McKenzie T.L.
        • Sallis J.F.
        • et al.
        Parental provision of transportation for adolescent physical activity.
        Am J Prev Med. 2001; 21: 48-51
        • Cavill N.
        • Bauman A.
        Changing the way people think about health-enhancing physical activity: do mass media campaigns have a role?.
        J Sports Sci. 2004; 22: 771-790
        • Wright J.
        Analysing sports media texts: developing resistant reading positions.
        in: Wright J. McDonald D. Burrows L. Critical inquiry and problem-solving in physical education. Routledge, London2004: 183-196
        • Ball K.
        • Crawford D.
        Socioeconomic factors in obesity: a case of slim chance in a fat world?.
        Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006; 15: 15-20