Personal and ecological factors in school sport: A multilevel approach
Ecologies of practice are seen as a major factor that fosters positive experiences of young athletes. The development assets theory, grounded in Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological theory, provided a useful framework. This study aimed to describe the effects of a sport season-long exposure to development assets, sources of enjoyment and attitude of school sport athletes. The Developmental Assets Profile, Sources of Enjoyment in Youth Sport Questionnaire and Sport Attitudes Questionnaire were administered to 325 participants (249 males, 76 females) aged 13-17 years, pre- and post- season. Multilevel and path analysis were performed. The magnitude of the changes was modest, but younger athletes and girls presented more significant changes. No predicting role of assets was found, although there were significant associations between external assets and enjoyment and pro-social attitudes. The findings suggest that pro-social contents of sport participation, like respect for opponents and being fair in victory and defeat, must be nurtured inside and outside pitches. Ecological climates, where coaches and peers play a decisive role, affect and shape the experiences of young people. Youth coaches and educators must be aware of these possible effects that take place in order to promote a healthy citizenship through sport.
Keywords: Development assets; Enjoyment; Attitudes; Longitudinal; Context.