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Table 4 Study characteristics for the qualitative studies included in the review

From: Barriers to voluntary participation in sport for children: a systematic review

Author & Year Research Aim Method Sample Country Age (Years) or School Grade Sport Socioeconomic info Barriers Identified Negative causaul/association relationship
Armentrout 2011 [51] To establish a clear and specific understanding of organisational barriers and personal reasons that may lead youth to discontinue sport participation and to determine changes that could be made to lead to continued involvement. Survey open ended questions 237 parents/guardians of children who had been youth hockey players USA Minnesota 4–17 Ice Hockey Outside school NR Lack of time
Cost too high
Location too far
Availability of ice rink
Politics affecting participation
Lack of enjoyment
Lack of interest
Azzarito 2013 [37] To explore the geographical dimensions of ethnic-minority girls‟ moving bodies as manifested in relevant spaces and places of their daily lives Visual ethnography with 2 interviews 20 females United Kingdom Midlands 14–15 PE Inside School 19 ethnic minority F, 1 white F Fear of humiliation Self-consciousness
Negative appraisal
Barnett 2013 [38] To explore adolescents’ perception of the relationship between movement skills, PA and sport, and whether their perceptions differed according to extent of participation in organised PA. Focus groups 33 17
(52%) M 16 (48%) F
Australia 16–18 General Outside school 99% below average Australian socioeconomic status Not being good at sport
Cost too high
Lack of time
No Encouragement
Lack of resources
Fear of being judged
Basterfield 2016 [54] To investigate how perceived barriers to participation in school and outside school sports club change in the same cohort over 3 years. Three main hypothesis were tested: 1. Perceived barriers will change from 9 to 12 years, 2. Overweight children will perceive different barriers to children of healthy weight, 3.girls will perceive different barriers than boys Survey with open ended questions 441,210 (48%) M 231 (52%) England 9 and 12 years General Socioeconomically representative of Northern England Cost too high
Distance to training
Lack of facility
Lack of time
Being shy
Doesn’t like being a teacher
Doesn’t like strangers
Being bullied
Lack of skill
Fear of getting hurt
Fear of making a mistake
Dismore 2010 [36] To investigate children’s attitudes toward PE and school sport?, Interview 10
5 M
5 F
United Kingdom Year 7 PE Inside School Mixed state and grammar schools Conforming to social groups
Lack of access to (good) equipment
School PE curriculum
Eimear Enright 2010 [40] To investigate what a negotiated PE curriculum process looks like, and how students’ increased involvement in curricular decision-making impacts on their engagement with physical education Participatory action research 41 F Ireland 14–19 PE NR Lack of voice and choice Causal
Eime 2010 [39] To use the socioecological model to investigate the broad range of factors which individually and interactively affect participation in sport and PA for currently active rural girls. Focus groups 27 F Australia 16 to 17 General Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas index scores 913–1034 Lack of enjoyment
Lack of time
Lack of confidence
Lack of motor skills
Willingness of parents to travel
Limited community support
Lack of opportunity
Limited sporting ability
Fisette 2013 [41] To explore girls’ self-identified barriers to theirengagement in and enjoyment of PE. Focus groups and interviews 7 F USA 14–15 General Middle class Boys dominating sport
Conforming to gender stereotype
Risk of embarrassment
Holt 2011 [42] To examine low-income parents’ and their children’s perceptions of the benefits associated with participation in youth sport. Interviews 17 parents, 18 children
2 Fathers, 15 Mothers
11 (61%) M
7 (39%) F
Canada Mean age
General Outside school Lowest socioeconomic status bracket in receipt of specific funding to support child’s participation in sports Cost (in addition to training)
Lack of time
Kimm 2006
To identify barriers to activity participation during adolescence in a biracial cohort of sedentary girls Questionnaire 2379 F USA 9–19 General NR Lack of time
No one to go with
May get hurt
Medical condition
Being bad at sport
Oliver 2009 [43] To understand 5th-grade girls’ self-identified barriers to physical activity and ways of negotiating those barriers Feminist active research 11 F USA 10–11 General Inside school 96% and 81% in each school were economically disadvantaged Conforming to gender stereotype
Boys domination of sport space
Boys attitudes to girls in sport
Quarmby 2011 [55] To explore psychosocial and environmental factors that contributed to children’s participation in physical and sedentary activities. Survey & Semi structured interviews 381 (30 from this participated in interviews) United Kingdom Midlands 11–14 General NR Family (single parents, step parents, married parents etc.) Causal
Stanley 2012 [44] To explore children’s perceptions of the factors influencing their engagement in PA during the lunchtime period, Focus groups 54
23 (43%) M
31 (57%) F
South Australia 10–13 General Inside school Range purposefully sampled, 20% low socioeconomic background Access to space
Perceived competence
Suitability of space
Lack of time
Cost too high
Dislike of uniform
Totaro Garcia 2011 [45] To identify the physical activity characteristics of adolescents attending thePhysical Education service of CAAA, Department of Pediatrics, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Interview Data 118
51 (43%) M
67 (57%) F
Brazil 10–19 General Inside school NR Lack of support (situational)
Lack of resources (finance and material)
Wetton 2013 [53] To gain a greater understanding of these issues which may help, in the future, to develop interventions to increasing team sports participation in girls. Survey / semi-structured interview 60 F United Kingdom Midlands 15–16 General Inside and outside school NR Conforming to stereotypes
Bad experience in PE
Teacher not supportive
Lack of ability
Peer disapproval
Other hobbies
Gender Stereotype
  1. NR Not reported, M Male, F Female, PE Physical education