Do participant reporting practices in youth sport research adequately represent the diversity of sport contexts?

Madison Robertson, Christopher Hague, M. Blair Evans, Luc J. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: There is extensive support for the developmental benefits associated with sport participation, yet research highlights the need to consider how outcomes of sport involvement differ depending on sport types, settings, and amount of involvement. The purposes of the two interrelated studies were to explore the natural diversity of youth sport contexts (Study 1) and to appraise reporting practices in relation to how sport psychology researchers describe youth sport samples (Study 2). Method: Through online searches of program websites, Study 1 involved a scan of a mid-sized Canadian city to demonstrate the diversity of youth sport contexts. Study 2 involved a review of youth sport peer-reviewed articles published from the year 2000 onwards with a focus on how the authors presented participant- and context-related information. Results: Study 1 demonstrated substantial variation in sport type, opportunities based on gender, and levels of competition within the example city. Despite the diversity across sport contexts, Study 2 demonstrated that sample reporting was typically restricted to gender, age, and sport type. Meanwhile, articles commonly omitted descriptions regarding the general context (e.g., time/cost requirements, group composition) that are expected to influence developmental experiences in sport. Conclusion: The diversity of sport opportunities afforded to youth suggests that experiences are likely to differ, yet reporting practices do not adequately describe the participants or contexts under investigation. Accordingly, practical examples of reporting items for youth sport researchers at both athlete and context levels are advanced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101559
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
StatePublished - Nov 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology


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