Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Tannehill, D; MacPhail, A; Walsh, J.; Woods, C.
Sport Education And Society
What young people say about physical activity: The Children's Sport Participation and Physical Activity (CSPPA) Study
Optional Fields
Physical education; Physical activity; Sport; Children and young people’s voices; Barriers to physical activity

The Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity study (CSPPA) is a unique multi-centre/discipline study undertaken by three Irish institutions, Dublin City University, University of Limerick and University College Cork. The study sought to assess participation in physical activity, physical education and sport (PAPES) among 10-18 year olds in Ireland. This paper shares what Irish children and young people convey, using their own voices, about their sport and physical activity experiences and how such experiences may result in their feeling included or excluded in PAPES.

Eighteen focus groups (FG) with 124 boys and girls elicited descriptive data from students and were conducted with homogeneous groups of 6 to 8 boys and girls aged 12-18 years (selected for convenience) identified as male/female, primary/post-primary, and generally active/inactive.

            Five themes (‘being with friends’, ‘variety in activity content’, ‘experiencing fun’, ‘time constraints’, and ‘opportunity to be outside’) ran across the three PAPES opportunities for young people. Overall data revealed these young people have a positive attitude toward physical activity (PA) which does not diminish as they age despite activity levels decreasing. Other choices of activity participation (e.g., debate, music), or more focused activities took the place of previous choices as young people came to realise what they most enjoyed.

            If we are to encourage and provide opportunities for young people to choose active lifestyles, it is important that we address what these young people report affects their involvement in physical activity across a number of contexts. Two such developments within Irish school and community contexts are discussed: Active School Flag initiative and Senior Cycle Physical Education framework.

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