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Inequalities in Athletic Participation During Adolescence: A Nationwide Study of Attrition Rates in Organized Sports in the United States

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Objectives: We sought to improve understanding of how inequalities based on sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status influence opportunities to participate in sports during adolescence. Methods: Data from the Monitoring the Future survey were merged to analyze attrition rates in 15 different organized sports in the United States. Results: The average attrition rate between 8th and 12th grades was roughly 32%, with field hockey, gymnastics, and volleyball generating the highest attrition rates. Multivariate analyses confirm that sports with greater percentages of girls and minorities have significantly higher attrition rates. Conclusions: The majority of organized sports lose adolescent participants between 8th and 12th grade, and organized sports that have larger numbers of girls and minorities experience the greatest loss of participants during the transition between the 8th and 12th grades.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2016

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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