Family Structure as a Correlate of Organized Sport Participation among Youth

Published on Feb 10, 2016in PLOS ONE2.776
· DOI :10.1371/journal.pone.0147403
Rachel McMillan2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Queen's University),
Michael A. McIsaac4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Queen's University),
Estimated H-index: 73
(Queen's University)
Organized sport is one way that youth participate in physical activity. There are disparities in organized sport participation by family-related factors. The purpose of this study was to determine whether non-traditional family structure and physical custody arrangements are associated with organized sport participation in youth, and if so whether this relationship is mediated by socioeconomic status. Data were from the 2009–10 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey, a nationally representative cross-section of Canadian youth in grades 6–10 (N = 21,201). Information on family structure was derived from three survey items that asked participants the number of adults they lived with, their relationship to these adults, and if applicable, how often they visited another parent outside their home. Participants were asked whether or not they were currently involved in an organized sport. Logistic regression was used to compare the odds of organized sport participation according to family structure. Bootstrap-based mediation analysis was used to assess mediation by perceived family wealth. The results indicated that by comparison to traditional families, boys and girls from reconstituted families with irregular visitation of a second parent, reconstituted families with regular visitation of a second parent, single-parent families with irregular visitation of a second parent, and single-parent families with regular visitation of a second parent were less likely to participate in organized sport than those from traditional families, with odds ratios ranging from 0.48 (95% confidence interval: 0.38–0.61) to 0.78 (95% confidence interval: 0.56–1.08). The relationship between family structure and organized sport was significantly mediated by perceived family wealth, although the magnitude of the mediation was modest (ie, <20% change in effect estimate). In conclusion, youth living in both single-parent and reconstituted families experienced significant disparities in organized sport participation that was partially mediated by perceived family wealth.
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