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Sport and Well-being: Benefits and Barriers to Participation in Sport for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and African-Australian young people

Sport and Well-being: Benefits and Barriers to
Participation in Sport for Aboriginal, Torres Strait
Islander and African-Australian young people
William Abur, Lecturer in Social Work at the National Indigenous Knowledges, Education, Research
and Innovation (NIKERI) Institute, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University. Email:
James Charles, Associate professor at the National Indigenous Knowledges, Education, Research and
Innovation (NIKERI) Institute, Faculty of Arts and Education, and school of Medicine, Faculty of
Health, Deakin University, Australia. Email:
Members of disadvantaged socioeconomic groups
such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and
African-Australian communities often experience
some barriers to participating in and benefiting from
sporting activities. Therefore, this article examines
the benefits and barriers of participation in sport for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and African-
Australian groups. The data is drawn from a
systemic literature review to understand the benefits
and barriers of participation in sport in these
particular communities. Participation in sporting
activities has been recognised for its benefits and
continues to be promoted in developed and
developing parts of the world for many reasons,
including its economic, social and cultural and well-
being benefits. Participation in sport and physical
exercise is strongly encouraged by contemporary
policy-makers, health and well-being workers in
Australia. In the policy context, there has been
increasing interest in the promotion of sports
participation and a growing number calls for more
diverse sports participation. Some of these calls
have been directed at sporting associations and clubs
to increase their levels of engagement with diverse
cultural groups and, encourage young people and
their families to participate in sport. However, many
barriers make it difficult for these young people to
navigate their way through organised sporting
Key words
participation, wellbeing, sport, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, African-Australian, young people
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Abur W…. Sport for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander & African-Australian young people
Corruption has become a major problem for the informal sector in Zimbabwe. The informal sector operators
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licence fee.
Participation in sport comes with many social
benefits for young people from disadvantaged and
low socioeconomic communities. The benefits of
participation in sport include both physical and
psychosocial benefits, such as enhanced health and
well-being and social inclusion (Gibbs & Block,
2017). Young people from low socioeconomic and
disadvantaged community groups such as
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and African-
Australian communities frequently experience
barriers to sports participation (May et al., 2020;
Charles, 2016). These barriers include but are not
limited to lack of financial support, lack of
mentoring and racism and discrimination (Abur,
2016). First, it is important to establish an
understanding that Australia's First Nation people
face common cultural, social and political issues as
African-Australians. Young people in these
community groups face more barriers due to racism
and discrimination in sport compared to other
community groups. Also, young people in these
communities love sport (Charles, 2016; Charles,
2018b), and they are more likely to excel and do well
in a sport if they are well-supported by sporting
clubs. Sport can be a mirror of many aspects of
society, including political views (Abur, 2016).
Therefore, participation in sporting activities has
been recognised and continues to be promoted in
developed and developing parts of the world for
many reasons, including for its social and cultural,
economic and well-being benefits (Charles, 2018b;
Charles, 2017; Charles, 2016; Charles, 2018a).
Participation in sport and physical exercise is
strongly encouraged by contemporary policy-
makers and well-being workers in Australia (Dwyer
et al., 1983; Bauman et al., 2001).
In a policy context, there has been increasing interest
in promoting participation in sport and a growing
number of calls for diversity in sporting codes
(Abur, 2016). Some of these calls have been directed
at sporting associations and clubs to increase their
levels of engagement with cultural community
groups and, thus, encourage young people and their
families to participate in sport (Abur, 2016). These
community groups include Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people and African-Australian
groups. Young people from these community
groups are curious about participating in sports for
many reasons, including for personal well-being and
connecting with mentors. However, many barriers
make it hard for these young people to navigate their
way through sporting associations. This literature
review will explore the well-being benefits and
barriers to sports participation for young
Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and African-
Australians. The study aims to collect evidence from
the literature and to contribute to the knowledge
about sport and well-being in these communities.
Context of the study
Sport is and has been an important vehicle for
development in communities, especially for young
people. Since the 1970s, the Australian Government
has been committed to this and has provided
political and financial support to athletes to perform
on the global stage, such as at the Olympic Games
and the FIFA World Cup (Green & Houlihan, 2005).
This investment in and commitment to supporting
athletes to achieve high levels of sporting
participation is returned through pride in national
identity and personal benefits (Merchant et al.,
2007; Stewart et al., 2004). However, there are still
significant barriers to participation in sport for the
minority community groups identified above.
Although the Government may claim to encourage
and value participation in sport, there is a clear
underrepresentation of diversity in sport (Spaaij et
al., 2019). Therefore, there is a great need for policy-
makers to encourage leaders in sporting associations
to consider issues related to diversity and minority
community groups in sport.
Traditionally, participation in sport and recreational
activities forms part of the well-being and life-
learning activities of indigenous community groups
around the world. Aboriginal Australians had
established sport and other recreational activities
before the colonisation and introduction of
Anglo/Celtic games (Dalton et al., 2015; Adair &
Rowe, 2010). Aboriginal Australians have shown
they are very athletic and have been for many
thousands of years (Webb et al., 2006; Watkins et
al., 2006). The tremendous running speed of ancient
Aboriginal Australians was documented in 21,000-
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Abur W…. Sport for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander & African-Australian young people
year-old footprint trackways at Lake Mungo in the
Willandra Lakes area of New South Wales
(Johnston, 2014). Physical activity and sport are an
integral part of many Aboriginal cultures; e.g., the
Kaurna People (Aboriginal Tribe) were witnessed
by the colonists in 1840 playing 'Parndo', a type of
football that the entire community would participate
in (Watkins et al., 2006). This athleticism of
Aboriginal Australians is evident in modern
professional sports activities such as the Australian
Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League
(NRL). They represent an estimated 10-20% of all
players (League, 2014), even though Aboriginal
people account for only 3% of the total Australian
population ((ABS), 2013). The Aboriginal
community has also produced world champions in
many different sports (Spirits, 2016). In recent
years, research has suggested young Aboriginal
Australians are flourishing in elite sports such as
boxing, rugby league and Australian Rules football
(Adair & Rowe, 2010; Stronach & Adair, 2010). The
modern sporting culture of Aboriginal Australians is
no more evident than in their participation in various
State and National Aboriginal NRL, AFL, netball
and cricket carnivals (Terzon, 2014; Department of
Sport and Recreation, 2014; League, 2014;
Association, 2016). These events are passionately
contested and are an exhibition of their speed and
agility. Despite showing such natural ability for
athleticism and sport, there are many barriers
preventing Aboriginal Australians from
participating in sport (May et al., 2020). Some of
barriers for young people from including
discrimination and racism, lack of financial
resources, lack of family support and lack of
professional coaches or trainers in community.
This also applies to African community groups
where young people spend many hours playing sport
in their villages for fun and personal well-being
(Abur, 2016; Spaaij, 2015; Singer, 2005). People
from heritage are excelling in elite sports such as
soccer and basketball as sporting games they love
and perform well in when they are given the
opportunity to play (Abur, 2016; Harrison &
Lawrence, 2003). Therefore, sport has shown some
potential evidence and hope of becoming an avenue
to assist young people from disadvantaged
communities in developing life skills and well-being
(Dalton et al. 2015). Participation in physical
activities and sport significantly benefits the health
and well-being of both individuals and community
groups (Abur, 2016; Townsend et al., 2002). The
World Health Organization defines health as 'as a
state of complete physical, mental and social well-
being and not merely the absence of disease or
infirmity' (Townsend et al. 2002: 2). Participation in
sport brings a range of benefits, such as social
capital and well-being and individual and
community pride, and sporting events act as a great
source of social interaction between different age
groups in the community. Participation also
improves the players' confidence and self-esteem.
For instance, being a good team player brings
recognition and respect, and improving fitness
levels can help individual players feel positive about
themselves and enhance their pride due to the hard
work that is required to achieve a certain level of
fitness or weight loss (Fox & Lindwall, 2014).
Participation in sport also assists young people in
making connections with their peers, friends,
coaches and community. Young people do enjoy
participating in physical activity, and this helps them
with their physical, emotional, and cognitive
development (Bruner et al., 2019). Given the well-
being benefits associated with sport, physical
activity is promoted more broadly as a response to
well-being issues by some government and non-
governmental agencies. This paper provides a
critical analysis of existing literature as a way of
understanding the barriers to participation in sport
for the groups identified above. It makes some
recommendations that can be used by policy-makers
to increase diversity in Australian sport. This critical
analysis not only advances the understanding of
existing gaps but also contributes to a theoretical
understanding of the well-being benefits that come
with participation in sport such as basketball,
Australian football League, netball, cricket, soccer
and so forth
Decolonising theory
Given the colonisation experiences and ongoing
racism and discrimination in sports, stories of
indigenous people from decolonisation perspective
(Esgin et al., 2019). The research field of indigenous
sports has been developed from ongoing matters of
civil and human rights in context of social, political,
and economic participation. Bamblett (2011) argues
that “speaking loudly and often against stereotypes
of innate abilities while detailing examples of
racism were important parts of the efforts to advance
the legal rights of black people in America and
Australia” (Bamblett, 2011. p 6). This research
paper is drawn from decolonisation theory.
Decolonising theory is a critical understanding of
underlying assumptions, motivations, and values
about indigenous communities around the global
(Smith, 2013). In other words, decolonising theory
is a genuine returning of indigenous people to their
cultural roots and direction after realisation of the
damage imposed on indigenous community groups
by their colonisers (Ibrahima & Mattaini, 2019).
Thus, the decolonising theory is an empowerment
and liberation from colonisation to decolonisation
and it is a powerful theory from indigenous research
perspective. Social capital theory from Bourdieu's
different forms of capital theory (Bourdieu, 1986),
has also been applied to understand the benefits of
sports. For instance, social capital framework is
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Abur W…. Sport for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander & African-Australian young people
used to understand the social benefits of
participation in sport (Abur, 2016; Spaaij, 2015;
Seibert et al., 2001; Smith et al., 2019). social capital
is a conceptual framework deployed as a method in
the literature review to provide a comprehensive
assessment of the literature on sport and physical
activity (Spaaij et al., 2019).
Therefore, the structure of this paper is based on the
following key concepts. Firstly, a system literature
review is deployed as conceptual framework and
methodology for the research. This is followed by
an outline of the key themes in relation to barriers
and benefits. What is a systematic literature review?
Well, it is a method that is widely deployed in
research that seeks to reduce the potential bias and
increase the transparency of findings (Torgerson,
2003). Therefore, the systemic review method
involves a process of searching for relevant
literature and is research in itself, considering all the
processes and steps involved in addressing broader
questions in empirical studies (Baumeister & Leary,
1997; Siddaway, 2014). In addition, a systematic
review is a framework that offers protocols and
processes that are followed by the researcher or
reviewer throughout all stages. This critical
approach importantly involves interpreting and
incorporating social and political issues within an
epistemological framework (Torgerson, 2003). A
critical analysis is about examining issues using a
critical lens without taking any information for
granted (Kendall, 2007; Fairclough, 2009). The
figure below presents the selection process for this
systematic literature review.
The inclusion and exclusion criteria applied in the
literature review process
Inclusion and exclusion
As demonstrated in the figure above, seven criteria
were used to select the eligible articles. The
eligibility of articles was based on readings of
abstracts. Several papers were rejected or excluded
based on the researcher's judgment. Such papers
were excluded because the abstracts stated little
about sporting participation.
Similar to any research, there are limitations to a
systemic literature review, and this study is no
exception (Mallett et al. 2012). One of the
limitations is that this literature review has a limited
scope. However, there is a great need to conduct a
broad literature review in these areas and make
Findings and discussion
Findings from this literature review revealed both
the benefits of participation and barriers to
participation in sports. Benefits include well-being
benefits and social capital benefits. In addition,
barriers to participation include racism and lack of
economic capital. Despite the barriers to
participation, it is important to acknowledge that
participation in sport for young people is recognised
and valued in many parts of the world by
governments, policy-makers, parents, and others,
such as health workers, for its well-being benefits
(Nicholson et al., 2010). Although, significant time,
energy and money are needed to support young
people to engage actively in sport. Findings from
this literature review suggest that parents from
higher socioeconomic groups have clear goals or
strategies in wanting to raise their children in active
ways through participation in organised sport. Those
parents can either have direct or indirect, intentional
or unintentional strategies (Wheeler, 2012).
However, many parents and young people from
lower socioeconomic backgrounds miss out on
participating in sport due to a lack of financial
resources and support. Some other social issues that
are determining factors in sport participation include
gender, social class and ethnicity. These factors play
a huge role in families and often negatively affect
the level of participation of young people in sport
(Wheeler, 2012). Social inclusion in sports
participation is a tool that can be used to assist young
people in gaining self-confidence and self-pride
(Bruner, et al., 2019)
Benefits: Social capital
According to social capital theory, sport is a great
way of connecting young people with each other to
have fun with friends, to be productively
competitive and to stay in good physical shape.
Players can improve their skills, make friends and
learn how to be part of a team. Playing sport is a
meaningful and pleasurable activity for anybody
Abstracts identified as participation in sport, sport and
wellbeing, barriers to participation in sport topics n=124
Exclusion and exclusion
criteria applied
Abstracts selected n=68
Articles included n=54
excluded after
/title abstract
excluded after
full text
screening n=14
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Abur W…. Sport for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander & African-Australian young people
who engages in or follows sporting activities.
Physical activities and sports are integrally related
to their social contexts. As social meanings and
power shift in society, the purpose of organised
sporting activities and games also changes (Abur,
2016; Bunde-Birouste et al., 2012). Participation in
sport is a useful way of engaging young people in
any society. Playing sport can be a rewarding
experience, particularly for young people who wish
to engage in physical activity. In some cultures,
games and contests are grounded in folklore and
religious belief (Charles, 2016; Watkins et al.,
2006). Therefore, participating in sport can be a
meaningful and purposeful way to promote well-
being and social connections among young people
(Abur, 2016; Spaaij, 2015). Sport has emerged on
the global stage as an avenue to improve outcomes
in communities with a high level of social and
economic disadvantage (Dalton et al., 2015; Spaaij,
In theory, people choose to engage in sport for three
main reasons: (1) a person's abilities, characteristics
and resources; (2) influence of significance
including parents, siblings, teachers, peers and role
models, and (3) the availability of opportunities to
play sport in ways that are personally satisfying.
Participants may be given an opportunity to take
personal responsibility for the creation of a quality
lifestyle (Leeann et al., 2013). Participating in sport
has also been shown to have other benefits. These
include gaining employment thorough sporting
networks. Networking is more important in the
sports industry because individuals in sports
organisations often hire those they know personally
(Abur, 2016). Participants may gain employment
opportunities in the sports industry. This is
extremely important in many ways (Alan &
Michael, 2013) and can be a great help for refugees
and other migrants. This social capital cannot be
ignored: sport may provide an opportunity to meet
people in the field who can be a great help and form
personal and professional networks (Leeann et al.,
2013). Besides the social benefits of participation in
sport, there are many health benefits associated with
actively engaging in sport or physical activity. For
instance, people who actively engage in physical
activity benefit from a higher level of fitness and a
lower risk of adverse medical conditions compared
to inactive people (Eime et al., 2013). Research has
also indicated that young people who actively
participated in sport are more likely to be physically
active in their adulthood compared to those who did
not participate in sport during their childhood (Eime
et al. 2013: 3).
Barriers to participation in sport
The barriers were only discussed briefly in the
literature reviewed, with much more space given to
the benefits of participation. The preceding section
discussed the barriers to participation in sport for
young people and their families in the groups
specified earlier. Some of these barriers include
economic barriers, racism, discrimination, and
cultural insensitivity (Abur, 2016, Abur 2018). In
addition, other barriers hold back parents and young
people in disadvantaged community groups from
engaging in sport such as the availability of time and
suitability of sporting locations. Some parents or
guardians of young people that have a disadvantaged
background do not have access to cars to drive a
young person to a venue that may be some distance
from their residence.
Economic barriers to participation in
The effective engagement and participation in
organised sporting programs at both national and
international levels, as well as at a local community
grassroots level, are very important to minority
groups. However, effective participation in
organised sports programs or associations comes
with a high cost that excludes many lower
socioeconomic groups. One barrier to the effective
participation in sport for young people and their
families from disadvantaged backgrounds is,
therefore, costs. A lack of financial resources is a
common barrier for young people from cultural
groups such as African and Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander groups (Abur, 2016). Research
suggests that young people from low socioeconomic
families often miss out on participating actively in
sport because of the cost involved (Somerset &
Hoare, 2018). Lack of finances often affects young
people's ability to engage in sport, even though they
might like to participate with their colleagues from
the opposite side of the economic spectrum (Abur
2018). Evidence suggests, 'Children from poorer
backgrounds and those from single parent families
are more likely to be affected by these barriers'
(Somerset & Hoare, 2018: 32).
Racism in sport
Sport is a principal social field where players,
parents and other supporters can come to participate
as spectators, which is highly positive in terms of
engaging the wider community. However, ugly
racist behaviours are often displayed or appear in
sport and are inflicted on players from minority
community groups. These racist behaviours
discourage young people and families from minority
groups from committing to and engaging actively in
sport. International research in Canada suggests that
racism is an ongoing problem in society and often
manifests itself in sport (Abur, 2016, Abur 2018). In
this paper, racism is explored as a critical problem
in sport for the specified groups. From the lens of
critical race theory, some live with an acute
awareness of oppression or disadvantage in society
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Abur W…. Sport for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander & African-Australian young people
because of their race, social group, ethnicity,
nationality and social intersectionality such as
gender, class, disability, and so on (Hylton, 2010).
The racism issue in sport is comprised of both casual
racism on the field and institutional racism. The
latter exists in both the sporting arena and at the
structural levels of associations. Ill-advised or
racially stereotyped comments from a coach, sports
journalist, sports leader or the athletes themselves
often send a very strong negative message to young
players and their families (Massao & Fasting, 2010).
It does not matter whether the comment is
intentional or unintentional; they all have the
consequence of potentially steering people in
cultural minority groups away from full
participation in sport. Racism is a serious problem
that causes fear, anxiety and mistrust and,
ultimately, becomes a barrier to participation in
sport and society.
Cultural insensitivity
Cultural insensitivity on the sports field is
problematic to players and families from minority
cultural groups. Some programs and activities are
insensitive to cultures and traditions. This cultural
insensitivity can be an agent for deterring families
and young people from minority cultural groups in
engaging actively in sports associations (Somerset
& Hoare, 2018). Therefore, sporting associations
must rethink their policies to accommodate cultural
issues. They must create or provide a positive
environment that welcomes families and their young
people from different community groups and
different lifestyles.
Those in leadership positions in sport have been
shown to pay little attention or no attention at all to
the issue of diversity and underrepresentation of
community groups in sporting clubs (Spaaij et al.,
2019). There are some such leaders who resist the
idea of diversity in sporting clubs and promoting the
participation of sport to culturally diverse
community groups. Such resisters include coaches,
managers, directors and other key decision-makers
in sporting associations. Sometimes, a struggle
within leadership to accept changes that
accommodate minority community groups may
unfold. Resistance to change is part of a de facto
program in sporting organisations. It also forms part
of social justice and power struggles within sporting
associations (Spaaij et al., 2019).
Even though governments and policy-makers have
recognised the advantages of participation in sport,
we still have a long way to go in Australia for
diverse community groups to attain an effective
level of participation in sport compared to their
mainstream counterparts. Young people and their
families from Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and
African community groups will remain
underrepresented in sport due to the barriers
identified above. Through the findings from this
paper, we know that marginalised community
groups are less likely to participate in recreational
sports activities and organised sports clubs (Spaaij
et al., 2019). We have highlighted both the benefits
of participation, including the well-being and social
benefits, as well as the barriers to participation in
The findings in this paper suggest that participation
in sport is vital due to its social, well-being, cultural
and economic benefits. Further, such participation
can foster unity in the community, a sense of
national worth or nation-building, as well as
improved social and health outcomes for society
more broadly. Sport is considered by some
developed and developing countries as a worthwhile
investment as their governments allocate resources
and develop better policies for all community
groups (Nicholson et al., 2010). Participation in
sport has multiple benefits, such as the improved
physical and mental health of individuals and the
wider community as well as increased social capital.
We hope that policy-makers in sporting associations
and their leaders, such as coaches and committees,
will consider the findings in this paper and assist
young people in minority groups by removing the
identified barriers so they can participate in sport
equally. Government and non-governmental
community organisations or associations need to
take responsibility for promoting sport to lower
socioeconomic community groups to increase the
sports participation of young people from those
groups. We also recommended that all sporting
clubs or associations address issues of racism and
discrimination in order to keep young people from
minority groups safe from racism and discrimination
in the sporting arena. There is a strong need for
sporting associations to work closely and
collaboratively with those same groups to encourage
them and address the barriers to their engagement in
sport. Those young people require careful and
sensitive support for them to successfully participate
in organised activities. By working in partnership
with community groups, there is greater opportunity
for the involvement of diverse families and young
people in organised sports programs. In this article,
we remind sports clubs and sports associations as
well as policy-makers to promote inclusive sports
programs. Sport can be an important instrument to
reduce critical health and social issues, such as
antisocial behaviour and social isolation, while
improving community safety and cohesion (Abur,
2016; Abur 2018, Gibbs & Block, 2017)
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Lack of support and engagement from sporting
associations with young people from disadvantaged
families or community groups may perpetuate the
cycle of disadvantage and increase their likelihood
of being involved in antisocial activities. This paper
has analysed and synthesised the critical issues that
are holding back young people in Aboriginal, Torres
Strait Islander and African community groups from
engaging effectively in sport. We have outlined the
benefits of participation in sport for these
community groups and general society, as
participation in sport and physical activity is gaining
momentum in many communities around the world.
Therefore, this paper makes a significant
contribution to existing research knowledge and,
specifically, to the understanding of the critical
issues facing Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and
African young people in sport in Australia. We
know that sport can be a great vehicle for peace in
disadvantaged communities. Therefore, the
participation of disadvantaged young people in sport
may prevent them from engaging in some anti-social
activities that may bring unrest to society in general.
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Abur W…. Sport for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander & African-Australian young people
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Acknowledgement: I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of all the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations that make the great continent of Australia. I would like to pay my respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders past and present, also the young community members, as the next generation of leaders and representatives. Disclaimer: In some instances in this paper I will be using the term 'Aboriginal' to describe both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is due to word restrictions, and no disrespect is intended to any individual or group. Abstract Objective: Studies have shown Aboriginal People have high rates of ankle, knee and back injury, also foot health is poor. However there is no specific questionnaire for musculoskeletal injury for Aboriginal Australians to investigate the impact of injuries on quality of life. A musculoskeletal injury questionnaire needs to be developed specifically for Aboriginal People. Methods: A search of literature for musculoskeletal injury questionnaires was conducted to find an appropriate questionnaire that could be modified to use in an Aboriginal population and for different types of injury. Five appropriate questionnaires were discovered and assessed against desirable criteria for a culturally appropriate injury questionnaire. Results: The Bristol Foot Score (BFS) was found to be the most appropriate questionnaire, particularly as it is patient centred. However, in its original format it did not meet all the desirable criteria and modifications were required for use in the Aboriginal community and for use with different types of injuries.
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Background: Participation in sport and physical activity could minimise the inflated risk of poor physical health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents. This review aimed to synthesise existing quantitative and qualitative literature regarding barriers and facilitators to physical activity and sports participation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Methods: Literature was systematically searched to include studies reporting barriers or facilitators to physical activity and/or sports participation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-18 years. Using a pre-established taxonomy based on the social-ecological model, a deductive analysis was performed. Quality appraisal was performed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Results: Of 3440 unique articles, nine studies were included with n = 10,061 total participants. Of the nine included studies one reported on participants from urban areas, two from regional and three from remote areas. Three were from representative samples of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Barriers were reported in all nine studies: 18 individual, 9 interpersonal, 27 community and 4 at the policy level (58 total); Facilitators were reported in five studies: 12 individual, 11 interpersonal, 11 community and 3 policy level (37 total). Conclusions: Research in this area is lacking with some states in Australia not represented and small samples. Strategies for improving participation in sport and physical activity by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents need to integrate a comprehensive identification of barriers and facilitators with a social-ecological understanding of how community and cultural factors can impact individual participation.
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Recent research has highlighted the cognitive, physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of sport and physical activity participation for Indigenous youth (McHugh, Coppola, & Sinclair, 2013; Hanna, 2009; Lavallée, 2007). Despite the importance of Indigenous peoples participating in sport and physical activity (e.g., Forsyth & Giles, 2013), the meaning of youth development in this context is not well understood. The purpose of this research was to understand Indigenous youth development within the context of sport and physical activity through the voices, stories and experiences of Indigenous youth. Participants were 99 Indigenous youth (52 males and 47 females) between the ages of 15 and 25 years who took part in one of 13 sharing circles. Each of the sharing circles was facilitated by a trained Indigenous youth with guidance from an Elder/Traditional person. A Two-Eyed Seeing approach (Bartlett, Marshall, & Marshall, 2012) was used to analyze the sharing circle discussions. This analytical process involved an initial inductive thematic analysis of the transcribed verbatim data followed by an Indigenous symbolic visual analysis of emerging themes using the Medicine Circle. Results revealed that involvement in sport and physical activity impacted Indigenous youth physically, cognitively, and emotionally. The spiritual impact was not as evident. Findings from the research will inform the development of a measure of Indigenous youth development within sport and physical activity settings.
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Researchers, policy makers, and practitioners increasingly pay attention to sport and physical activity as a means and context for refugee wellbeing and integration, influenced by wider political and policy concerns about forced migration. Considering this growing scholarly and policy attention, it is timely to take stock of, and critically reflect on, recent developments in this field of research. This paper offers an integrative, critical review of the scientific literature on the topic. It critically synthesizes what is known about the sport and physical activity experiences of people with refugee and forced migrant backgrounds, and identifies key issues and directions for future research in this field. This review of contemporary academic literature comprises 83 publications derived from fourteen languages published between 1996 and 2019. It shows a substantial increase in the volume of published research on the topic in recent years (2017-2019). Published research is concentrated primarily in Western countries around the themes of health promotion, integration and social inclusion, and barriers and facilitators to participation in sport and physical activity. The findings foreground the use of policy categories, deficit approaches, and intersectionalities as three pressing challenges in this area of research. Based on this synthesis, the authors identify four research gaps that require attention in future research: the experiential (embodied emotional) dimensions of sport and physical activity, the need to decolonize research, the space for innovative methodologies, and research ethics.
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Participation in sport is highly valued by governments and policy makers. Policies and programs encourage participation of populations who are underrepresented in sport. In many countries sport participation is possible primarily under the auspices of voluntary sports clubs, many of which name demographic diversity as an organizational value. Underrepresented population groups continue to lag, however, in participating in sports clubs. Change has been slow in coming. Relatively little research focuses on resistance by those in positions of leadership to the entry or involvement of underrepresented or marginalized population groups into sports clubs. The purpose of this paper is to develop insight into why change may be so slow in coming even though demographic diversity is purportedly highly valued. Drawing on Raby's (2005) conceptualizations of practices of resistance, on empirical research on diversity in recreational sports clubs and on work by Foucault, the authors identify six discursive practices that those in positions of leadership in sport clubs draw on to resist diversity: speech acts, moral boundary work, in-group essentialism, denial/silencing, self-victimization, and bodily inscription. The authors conclude that resistance to diversity in sport clubs has emerged from a confluence of discourses that enable noncompliance at the micro level with the use of a macro-level discourse of diversity.
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The belief that participation in sport and physical activity assists the integration of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) migrants is prominent within sport policy and programming. Integration outcomes may be enhanced when the migrant develops facets of cultural capital that are valued by both the migrant and the destination country. This paper systematically examines the cultural capital of CALD migrants in the context of participation in sport and physical activity. Databases were searched for papers published in peer-reviewed journals between 1990 and 2016. A total of 3040 articles were identified and screened, and 45 papers were included in this review. Findings show that migrants’ cultural capital can be both an asset to, and a source of exclusion from, sport participation. Sport and physical activity are sites where migrant-specific cultural capital is (re)produced, where new forms of cultural capital that are valued in the destination society are generated, and where cultural capital is negotiated in relation to the dominant culture. The authors conclude that the analytical lens of cultural capital enables an in-depth understanding of the interplay between migrant agency and structural constraints, and of integration as a two-way process of change and adaptation, in the context of sport and physical activity.
The chapter seeks to answer the question: are the Bedouins an indigenous people? It first addresses the positions of the Israeli state as well as a group of Israeli scholars who deny the indigeneity of the Bedouins and cling to anachronistic concepts and definitions concerning indigeneity. The chapter then demonstrates that contrary to Israel’s position, the Negev Bedouins correspond to current international standard characterizations and experiences of indigenous peoples. It relates to international debates and discussions over the definition of indigenous peoples with special focus on the various transformations of the internally-accepted definition of indigeneity and its application to the Palestinians in general, and the Negev Bedouins in particular.
To design a questionnaire that would determine an Indigenous individual's perceptions of the barriers and motivators to aerobic and anabolic exercise with a series of questions designed to elicit the factors that impact uptake and retention of regular physical activity. For this purpose, a questionnaire was designed to capture information relating to motivators and barriers, traditional physical activities, preferred exercise environments, exercise goals and levels of commitment to physical activity. This article does not report the results of the questionnaire itself but the preparation that was required in order to develop it. Indigenous standpoint theory. Participatory Action Research. A series of consultation meetings were arranged between the first author, a Noongar Aboriginal researcher, with a range of people from the same Noongar community as the author to discuss priorities and develop questions. The drafted questionnaire was shaped with continuous Noongar community feedback to ensure the language, length and appropriateness of questions. Questionnaire reliability was assessed using interclass correlation. Most questions had excellent internal consistency. A consensus was reached on the utility of the questionnaire. The personal contacts of the first author and nature of community involvement in the development of this questionnaire were helpful in assuring that it would be an acceptable tool for the Noongar community. The piloting of the questionnaire was also important in confirming its community acceptability. This article provides a model and suggestions for researching physical activity and exercise in a culturally safe manner.