Social correlates of recreational sport participation among a cohort of South African university students
Janse van Rensburg, N.
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Recreational sport participation is beneficial for university students, increasing physical and social health, reducing stress levels, fostering a better sense of belonging and improving persistence, and identifying factors or constraints that may hinder students from participation is essential. The purpose of this study was to address the influence of different social correlates on undergraduate student recreational sport participation at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University. The study data were collected through an online survey. The research instrument consisted of sections on demographics, current recreational sport patterns, reasons for participation, leisure constraints and sense of community. A census sample was used comprising 581 undergraduate students registered as full-time contact students for the academic year. Descriptive statistics were used to establish the students' recreational sport profile, while Chi-square tests and crosstabs analyses were used to determine differences in choice of recreational sport based on demographic variables, with significant differences found according to gender and nationality. Two factor analyses were performed to determine the reasons (motives) for and constraints to participation, with five reasons and five constraints identified. The extracted factors were further used in t-tests and analyses of variance and the results showed significant differences among selected demographic groups in their reasons for participation and perceived constraints. An additional factor analysis determined four factors contributing to students' sense of community. These extracted factors were further used in a Spearman's correlation analysis to determine correlations between recreational sport participation and the factors contributing to sense of community. The study not only contributes to the South African body of knowledge in the field of leisure research, but provides practical information for universities on university students' recreational sport behaviour. The recommendations include the review of recreational sport codes endorsed by the university and their inclusiveness to all members of the student population, as well as a survey of the campus sport infrastructure, focusing on accessibility, quality and relevance. An additional recommendation is a campus initiative for both staff and students to engage in recreational sport to promote a sense of community in a fun and informal way. It is suggested that further research includes the following: translating the research instrument to increase understanding of terms such as leisure and recreation; including more universities for comparison and generalisation of results; and using qualitative research methods to acquire more in-depth knowledge on topics arising from this study.
- Health Sciences