Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of Children in Sport: The Role of Parents

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering


Parents are fundamental to children's sporting experiences and, through their involvement, have a substantial impact on children's enjoyment, safety, and wellbeing. Unfortunately, there are increasing reports of negative or inappropriate parental involvement in sport in Wales. Such involvement from parents could result in a range of adverse effects for children (e.g., anxiety, depression, overtraining, injuries, eating disorders, inappropriate supplement use, and dropout from sport). Currently, while the consequences of negative parental involvement in sport are known, the reasons why parents in Wales are increasingly demonstrating such negative or inappropriate involvement are unknown. Identifying the factors that influence parental involvement in sport is a critical step to ensuring that effective strategies can be developed to enhance parental involvement and reduce the detrimental consequences for children. The aim of this PhD is to systematically examine the factors influencing parental involvement in youth sport in Wales. Further, this project will seek to identify and evaluate strategies used to optimise parents' roles and engagement in sport.

Four research questions will be addressed using a range of qualitative methodologies. These questions are:

1. How are parents involved in sport across Wales and what consequences is it having for children, coaches, safeguarding officers, and other parents?
2. What individual factors influence parents' involvement in their child's sport in Wales?
3. What social and cultural factors influence parents' involvement in their child's sport in Wales?
4. What strategies may be effective to enhance parental involvement in youth sport across Wales?

This project builds on 10 years of research examining parental involvement in sport, while providing the first insights into social and cultural influences specific to Wales. It complements on-going working between Dr. Knight and the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and will provide further evidence to underpin the practices and policies of the CPSU.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2097694 Studentship ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2018 31/12/2022 Maita Takwansiwa Furusa