Chapter 5A Socio-Cultural Influences

  • Created by: millieray
  • Created on: 03-01-18 16:48


  • It has been government policy for the past 50 years to try to make sure that every individual has the opportunity to participate in sport.
  • The building of sports halls, the provision of outdoor recreation and sports facilities, the opening up of the countryside, an ongoing information campaign and a focus within school physical education programmes has all been done with the aim of increasing participation.
  • The most recent research suggests:
    • Only 36% of people participate in sport.
  • Levels of participation also vary between social groups:
    • 17% of people participate in sport regularly.
    • 38% of adults from black or ethnic minority groups regularly participate in sport
    • 26% from the lowest socio-economic groups regularly participate in sport
    • Male participation is 41%
    • Female participation is 31%
  • Engagement patterns is used to describe the trends/ tendencies in involvement.
  • Social groups have a huge influence on people and their participation within sport.
  • One of the biggest factors is a person's gender.
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Participation by women

  • Women's participation has been affected bu a range of stereotypes. e.g-
    • women lack the strength or endurance to do the same range of sports as men.
    • women who are competitive are not being feminine
    • too much physical activity limits a women's ability to give birth
    • women who train hard and develop muscle become more 'man-like' and have their sexual orientation questioned.
    • a women's role is to be a carer/ mother/ manager of the home preventing sport involvement
  • the majority of these stereotypes are held by men and although society is becoming more accepting of the idea of female participation, there are many still believing in stereotypes.
  • as a result of these stereotypical views other barriers to participation have been put in place putting women off from participating in sport. e.g-
    • sport is male-dominated
    • elite female sport performers have less media coverage
    • facilities for women have developed more slowly than for men
    • media coverage for elite female performers may contain irrelevant details like looks
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Participation by ethnicity

  • An ethnic group is defined as a group of people who share a common origin.
  • There is a wide variety of different ethnic minority groups in the UK. Each have different levels of participation.
  • The reason for these differing levels are linked to different priorities and expectations.
  • There is an unevenness of representation in sport of different ethnic groups at elite levels. e.g. in the England football and the UK athletics squads, about 30% of players are from ethnic minority groups comparing to the general polutation in which 13% are from ethnic minorities.
  • The stereotypical response to these numbers is that people from black, carribean and african groups have better physiological attributes due to their genetic make up giving them an innate advantage.
  • Athletics and football often requires speed, power and strength and it is suggested that these ethnic groups have a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibres, or have a longer achilles tendon allowing greater power transfer or a higher ratio of muscle to fat.
  • This physiology is required in other sports like tennis but the high representation isn't seen
  • The imbalances that ethnic groups have, both in levels of participation and at elite level, are due to a range of factors and are caused by several influences.
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Other Factors Affecting Participation

  • Surveys have shown that individuals from lower socio-economic groups are less likely to participate in sport because they have less disposable income.
  • This may explain the high proportion of elite footballers and athletes from certain ethnic groups. These activities are relatively inexpensive especially when compared to tennis.
  • In the UK you 'pay to play' and some physical activities may cost more money than others.
  • Age also affects participation. All school age children participate in physical activity because PE is compulsory. It is after children leave school that participation drops. There is 'post-school drop out' in sport.
  • Many activities are restricted by physical fitness which declines with age so participation levels drop.
  • The type of activity undertaken also varies by age, with younger people more involved with team sports and older people more likely to be involved in individual activities.
  • A persons family and friends influences their participation. A family can support a performer financially, emotionally or through transport. Or they can have a negative influence with the lack of support.
  • Peer groups can either pressure an individual into not participating or encourage them to participate.
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Disability Participation

  • A person with a disability has some form of impairment,which affects their ability to take part in an activity.
  • There is a wide range of conditions within disability and it is easy to make assumptions without paying attention to their specific needs. A small number of people have a disability that is so severe that they cannot participate in sport.
  • Also, people with disabilities are often stereotyped as being unable to take part in sport.
  • There are three main categories of disability:
    • Mobility impairment
    • Sensory impairment
    • Mental impairment
  • There is also disagreement over the best way to provide opportunities for those with a disability.
  • Integration:is involving the full participation of all people in community life, but usually referring to disabled people. 
  • Adapted sport:is competitive sports for individuals with disabilities. While they often parallel existing sports played by able-bodied athletes. 
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Disability Participation 2

  • The benefits of integration include:
    • reduced possibilities of discrimination
    • less stereotyping
    • fewer barriers
  • The benefits of separate opportunities include:
    • greater range of opportunities through specifically designed programmes
  • It is generally thought that integration rather than separateness is better and therefore sport continues to seek ways of integrating sport oppportunities for those with a disability within mainstream activity.
  • One way that people with a disability are able to participate in sport is by either adapting a mainstream sport or by designing a new sport. Some sports have been designed to enable people with a disabiity to take part. They include the following:
    • Boccia- A bowls-type game, played at paralympics and suitable for players of all abilities.
    • Goalball- An active court game for visually impaired or sighted players.
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Barriers to Participation

  • A range of barriers to participation have been identified:
    • attitudes
    • role models
    • accessibility- to facilities/ clubs/ activities
    • media coverage
    • sexism/ stereotyping
    • culture/ religion/ religious festivals
    • family commitments
    • available leisure time
    • familiarity
    • education
    • socio-economic factors/ disposable income
    • adaptability/ inclusiveness
  • A barrier to participation is an obstacle that prevents a group within society from participating in sport and therefore reduces overall levels of participation.
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Barriers to Participation: Attitudes

  • An attitude is an opinion about something and means that people have a tendency to respond in a certain way towards something.
  • These are generally learned rom family and friends.
  • They can be positive or negative. For example a person with a negative attitude towards exercise will not particapate in exercise.
  • They are long lasting but can be changed. They can be changed by convincing the performer of all the good things about an actiivity, such as explaining the health benefits of exercise.
  • In real life examples of attitudes changing is the idea of women playing rugby or cricket attracted negative attitudes 30 years ago, but now it has generally changed.
  • In football; after the success in winning the bronze medal at the 2015 World Cup, attitudes towards women's football have become more positive.
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Barriers to Participation: Role Models

  • Role models have a great influence on attitudes and particpation in general.
  • They can be from a sport, from family, or from a peer group.
  • Role models tend to encourage participation in sport.
  • They can also encourage people to play in a certain way and even influence fashoin choices both on and off the field.
  • Knowledge of the possibility of being a role model can also influence the behaviour of the role model.
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Barriers to Participation: Accessibility

  • Many physical activities require a certain type of facility in order to participate. For example, skiing needs snow or an artificial surface; disabled swimmers may need a hoist to enter and leave the water.
  • If a facility is not easily available, then participation become difficult.
  • Some activities are only available in certain locations. Clubs, and therefore oppportunities for participate, are quite difficult to locate in some parts of the country.
  • Some activities are not accessible because of the cost or difficulty of transport.
  • Many elite sportspeople have to go and live near a facility to make access to the facility easier.
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Barriers to Participation: Media Coverage

  • It usually has a positive effect on participation in that it often generates role models or simply general interest that encourages participation.
  • A lack of media coverage, or bad media coverageg, however, can have a negative effect on participation.
  • The potential positives and negatives of media coverage are:
    • attendances may rise as people want to see the best players/ role models.
    • supporters become more informed
    • easier to attract sponsorship
    • encourages participation
    • develops personalities and role models
    • multiple cameras give viewers a close-up view of the action
    • attendances may fall as more people watch from home
    • only few sports on TV; minor sports are not shown
    • sports personalities lose privacy
    • changes to playing season, event rules, event timings
    • events can be sensationalised to promote the media rather than the sport.
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Barriers to Participation: Sexism

  • Sexism is the belief that one sex is naturally superior to the other.
  • It involves and leads to prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of gender.
  • Elite sport is sexist in that it seperates men and women. While men play five sets as tennis Grand Slam events, women can only play over three sets.
  • In terms of participation, 1.9 million fewer women make up only 18% of qualified coaches and 9% of senior coaches. Less than 1% of sports sponsorships in the UK gos to women's sport and men generally get more prize money than women. Only 7% of all sports media coverage in the UK is dedicated to women's events.
  • The feminist movement has made great advances towards equality for women and most of these inequalities are being challenged.
  • Certain groups of women are affected more than others, for example teenage girls participate less as they grow older, this decline is majorly based on the lack of interest in physical activity by friends and family, concerns over their weight and appearance and associated feelings of lack of confidence.
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Barriers to Participation: Religion/ Culture

  • Muslim women participate les than women from other social or cultural groups. This cultrual groups faces added inequalities to the already original ones that exist, with needing to follow a strict dress code and the need to only mix with other women.
  • Other influences on the participation of ethnic minority groups include the effects of discrimination as a result of prejudice, which may lead to reduced opportunities either through limited access or by individuals choosing not to participate.
  • Another reason for lower participation is that a higher percentage of ethnic minority communities are in economically deprived areas and have lower disposable incomes, and therefore cannot afford to participate.
  • Cultural groups may not see sports participation as a worthwhile use of time and place greater emphasis on academic success.
  • Certain times of the year with religious festivals may limit participation also.
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Barriers to Participation: Family Commitments

  • Individuals may need to look after other members of their family and this may limit opportunities to participate in sport and physical activities.
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Barriers to Participate: Leisure Time

  • This is the time people have when they are not working, taking care of themselves or completing their family and home duties.
  • In general, the amount of leisure time has increased in recent years for most people because they tend to now have shorter working days and shorter working careers.
  • Linked to this is the fact that people now tend to live longer.
  • People also have better/easier working conditions; work tends to be less arduous and the number of paid holidays has increased. More and more people are job-sharing and involved in part-time rather than full-time work. There are also many inventions that make life easier, which means that housework takes less time.
  • More leisure time should means mroe time for exercise, but there are still many people who through choice or through necessity still have limited leisure time due to work or other commitments.
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Barriers to Participation: Familiarity

  • Most people would rather be involved with something they already know about and understand.
  • Some of the more common ways to have familiarity with a sport is through parental influence, where children become involved in the same activities as their parents.
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Barriers to Participation: Education

  • Compulsory physical education lessons give every child an introduction to activities that they may continue to participate in after leaving school.
  • Factors affect a school's PE programme. Some schools have better and/ or newer facilties. Many have PE teachers that are interested in certain sports that they emphasise in PE lessons, but this goes both ways. This could limit a child's experience in certain activities.
  • In many schools the timetable can be a problem, as there may be a greater emphasis, and more lessons, given academic subjects, and so there is insufficient time allocated to PE facilities and/or finance can also affect PE provision.
  • A similar restriction occurs with outdoor and adventure activities, which are expensive to organise, especially when travel and accomodation become part of the cost.
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Barriers to Participation: Socio-economics

  • Certain socio-economic groups have lower disposable incomes available to spend on leisure activities.
  • People from lower socio-economic groups may have limited leisure time because of the need to work longer hours.
  • Some activities are associated with certain social groups, leading to possible rejection or discrimination, and some activities still have membership that is restricted to certain socio-economic groups.
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Barriers to Participation: Adaptabiltiy/ Inclusive

  • One way that people with limited access to an activity, such as those with a disability or with limited disposable income are able to participate in sport is by either adapting a mainstream version of the sport or by designing a new sport. This makes many activities inclusive to all.
  • For example, the sport os basketball can be adapted to wheelcahir basketball for disabled users.
  • Adapting an activity to enable more people to participate is making an activity inclusive.
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