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Participation in Interscholastic and Intramural Sport Programs in Middle Schools: An Exploratory Investigation of Race and Gender



157 – 173

Although school-sponsored extracurricular sport remains one of the most popular and effective ways to increase adolescents’ physical activity levels, it is designed to include a small number of a school’s elite athletes. Fewer schools offer intramural sports, and little is known about participation in these activities. The purpose of this study is to compare variations in how students participate in interscholastic and intramural school sport programs. Using a sample of seventh and eighth graders in two southeastern middle schools, results indicated that school sport participation levels were higher in intramurals than interscholastic sports for all studied categories of students except for White girls. In addition, students participating in intramural sports played nearly twice as many sports during the school year as students participating in interscholastic sports. Gender and race differences in school sport participation both confirm and contradict previous research and suggest that schools should consider cultural factors when planning sport programs for diverse populations of young people.

Keywords: school sport, youth, race, gender, sport participation, intramurals


Authors: Michael B. Edwards, Jason N. Bocarro, Michael A. Kanters, Jonathan M. Casper

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