The parental experience in youth sport: a systematic review and qualitative meta-study

Publication Name

International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology


A plethora of studies has shown that parents experience their own range of outcomes as a result of having a child involved in organised sport. Despite this, the literature on parent-specific outcomes in youth sport has yet to be reviewed and synthesised. The aims of this study were to systematically review and synthesise, assess study quality, and propose a descriptive model of the qualitative literature pertaining to parental experiences in youth sport. To achieve these aims, 58 qualitative articles underwent meta-method, meta-theory, and meta-data analysis followed by a meta-synthesis of the findings. Our descriptive model proposes that parents experience outcomes that span single (e.g. emotional reactions, interpersonal behaviours, learned behaviours, and resource expenditure) and multiple-events (e.g. health and wellbeing, identity, social relationships, and parental satisfaction) as a result of their involvement in organised sport. All the while, youth sport participation requires ongoing financial, temporal, and emotional investment from parents. Furthermore, although included studies were generally strong methodologically, future investigations of parental experience in sport would benefit from greater incorporation of theory and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Open Access Status

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