Associations between sport participation, demographic and socio-cultural factors in Portuguese children and adolescents

Eur J Public Health. 2008 Feb;18(1):25-30. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckm049. Epub 2007 Jun 16.


Background: The number of studies that focus on factors influencing the sport participation (SP) of children and adolescents is limited. The present study examines the associations between demographic [age, gender and socio-economic status (SES)] and socio-cultural factors (SP of family, and peers and physical educator influences) and the SP of children and adolescents.

Methods: A random sample of 3352 Portuguese children/adolescents, 10-18 years, their parents and siblings was surveyed. The assessment of SP was based on a psychometrically established questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression was used in data analysis.

Results: (i) age was not related to children/adolescent's SP; (ii) children/adolescents with high SES (OR:1.7, 95%CI:1.4-2.2) and medium SES (OR:1.4, 95%CI:1.1-1.7) were more involved in sports; (iii) children/adolescents were more likely to participate in sports when their family also participate; (iv) boys were more likely to participate in sports than girls (adjusted OR:3.3, 95%CI:2.8-3.9 from a main effects model), but mother's SP influenced their daughters and sons differently. Daughters showed a greater propensity for practising sports when their mothers did (OR:2.5; 95%CI:1.7-3.6). For sons, sports involvement was similar whether or not their mothers participated (OR:1.1; 95%CI:0.7-1.7); (v) peers had a positive influence on the participants' SP (OR:2.2, 95%CI:1.9-2.7); (vi) after adjusting for other factors, the influence of a physical education teacher was not found to affect the SP of the children/adolescents.

Conclusion: There are important demographic and socio-cultural influences on the SP of children/adolescents-in particular, gender, SES, family members' SP and peer influence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Peer Group
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Portugal
  • Psychometrics
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Sports / psychology
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires