Children’s reasons for participating in sport as well as their reasons for discontinuing involvement have been extensively studied over the last decade. However, a complete understanding of the underlying processes influencing these phenomena has been clouded by failing to consider a number of individual difference and contextual factors related to sport participation. These missing links include participant status group differences, program type, level of intensity, type of sport, particular reasons for attrition, multiple assessments across a season, developmental differences, and the social structure surrounding the sport experience. Future research possibilities and practical implications for pediatric educators are provided.
Maureen R. Weiss is with the Department of Physical Education and Human Movement Studies, Esslinger Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. Linda M. Petlichkoff is with the Department of HPER, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725.
Both authors contributed equally to the ideas presented in this manuscript and consider its authorship as joint. This paper is based on a presentation given by Maureen Weiss at the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Conference, October 1987, in Washington, DC. The authors wish to thank Vicki Ebbeck and Nigel Chaumeton for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper.