Monday, January 13, 2014

Neighborhood social capital and sports participation in youth

In a study just published online in pre-pub in the journal Social Science and Medicine, with Dr. Rick Prins as first author, we explored the role of neighborhood social capital as a relevant factor for sports participation in youth. We studied if such social capital interacted with individual level determinants of participation in sports, such as attitudes towards doing sports, perceived behavioral control and intentions. The study used data from the YouRAction trial investigating the effects of computer-tailored feedback and advice to promote physical activity among adolescents. Self-administered questionnaires were used to learn the adolescents' frequency of sports participation, perceived neighbourhood social capital, cognitions (attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control and intention toward sport participation) and demographics. Ecometric methods were used to aggregate perceived neighbourhood social capital to the neighborhood level. We found that adolescents who experienced positive social capital in their neighborhood were more than 5 times as likely to comply with the so-called 'fit norm', i.e. participating in sports for at least three times per week. Moreover, neighborhood social capital moderated the association of attitude, perceived behavioural control and intention with fit norm compliance: the associations of these cognitions with fit norm compliance were stronger in case of more neighborhood social capital, suggesting that the 'effect' of these attitudes and intentions was stronger in case of more social capital.