Participation In Sports Actinities, Attrition And Dropping Out

Por: F. Ruiz Juan, M. E. Garcia Montes e Maurice Pierón.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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In many studies it was found that attracting people to physical and sport activities was easier than keeping them
practising (Dishman, 1990). Adherence was mainly investigated in children, adolescents, and in rehabilitation
programmes. In many countries, data from adults are relatively scarce.

Subjects. Participants in the study were 1102 adolescents and adults. They were distributed in four groups (15-29; 30-
44; 45-59 year-old; 60 and older). They were selected according to a sampling procedure in province of Almería in
Spain. Demographic data were also gathered. They included age, gender, studies completed, profession and civil status.
Instrumentation. A valid questionnaire was applied to study leisure and sports habits. The questionnaire dealt with
leisure activities, motivation towards sports activities, participation in organised and unorganised sports activities. Data
specific to attrition, reasons for dropping out and intentions to start again a sports involvement were dealt with in this
study. 302 subjects answered that they dropped out.
Data processing. Data were processed by the SPSS software. Comparisons were made according to age and gender.

The dropping out rate was higher than average (29%) in younger groups: 36.3% (15-29) and 34% (30-44).
Four motives accounted for almost 75% of all reasons explaining the drop out: lack of time (42.4%), lack of motivation
(17%), laziness (7.8%) and family difficulties (6.9%) were the most common motives for leaving sportive activity. The
reasons advanced to justify the attrition differed significantly according to age. In the youngest group lack of time, lack
of motivation and laziness were much higher than in the general distribution according to age.
The profile of intents to start physical and sports activities again showed interesting differences: a lower proportion of
women declaring that they do not intend to start again, similar percentage of indecision about participation and higher
proportion of women answering that they will be again involved.

Discussion/ Conclusions
The findings confirmed the motives usually invoked to justify the lack of adherence. Age was an important
consideration in this study particularly in terms of reasons to drop out of physical and sports activities. Gender should
also be considered to assess the possibilities of becoming active again after dropping out.

[1]. Dishman, R.K. (1990). Determinants of participation in physical activity. In C. Bouchard, R.J. Shephard, T.
Stephens, J.R. Sutton, & B.D. McPherson (Eds.), Exercise, fitness and health: A consensus of current knowledge.
Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 75-101.

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