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Unga idrottares upplevelser av föräldrapress
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)Alternative title
Children and youth in sport – experiences of parental pressure (English)
Abstract [en]

Over the last decades intense debates have taken place, in the mass media, regarding the child-parent relation within sport. Questions have been raised if parent’s involvement can be a source of pressure for children and youth. In Sweden relatively little research have been undertaken to study this problem.

Therefore the aim of this thesis is:

- to describe and analyse children’s and youth’s experiences of parental involvement within the sport milieu, focusing on parental pressure.

The purpose has also led to the following formulated problems:

- How do children and youth experience parent’s presence, actions and open reactions toward young athletes in the sport milieu?

- What does it mean for young athletes to experience parental pressure?

Parents can unintentionally impose pressure on children just by trying too hard to be a good sport parent. Earlier research has proposed that young athletes experience pressure from parents when there is an imbalance between the experienced intensity in the parental involvement and what they desire. Given this background parental pressure was defined as: young athlete’s experiences of feelings of insufficiency in sport, which is emanated from parent’s, both hidden and outspoken, demands and expectations to achieve within the sport milieu”. For this thesis a critical factor in the theoretical framework is young athlete’s subjective experiences of parents, and especially parental pressure, in the public sport milieu.

The data collection consisted of both questionnaires and interviews. The respondents (n=601, age 8 to 16) were selected from twelve of the most popular sports for children and youth (football, handball, swimming, equestrian sport, tennis, floor hockey, athletics, golf, ice hockey, gymnastics, figure skating and table tennis. The data from the interviews was collected from a sample of twelve young athletes (age 10 to14).

The results showed support for how children in general are happy and satisfied with their parent’s involvement (81%). However it was also found that there was a minority group of 19% that indicated experiences of high parental pressure. In the results there were also tendencies that showed how certain sports (tennis, swimming, golf and equestrian sport) scored higher on the parental pressure scale than others. The respondents who scored low (under the mean) on the self-perception scale showed tendencies to score high on the parental pressure scale (Rho= -.38, p<.01). The factors connected to parental pressure, highlighted in the interviews, were also emphasized in an open-ended question.

Stronger guiding principles, reinforced motivation and designed education dealing with these subjects in organised sport are inevitable. Otherwise organised youth sport will never succeed in oppressing the primary sources of children’s experiences of parental pressure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Estetisk-filosofiska fakulteten , 2007. , 200 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2007:1
Keyword [en]
Children and youth, sport milieu, parental pressure
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-499ISBN: 91-7063-103-4OAI: diva2:6164
Public defence
2007-02-09, Nyqvistsalen, 9C 203, Karlstads Universitet, Karlstad, 13:15
Available from: 2007-01-17 Created: 2007-01-17

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