Empowerment and resistance through leisure: The meaning of competitive sport participation to older adults

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35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aging population in developed countries is a well established fact. The phenomenonhas prompted researchers and the media to focus more on the benefits of recreational activities, sport and physical for the elderly and has triggered an explosion of sports events for a later age. What is surprising, however, is the lack of qualitative research on the experience of the practice of competitive sports in the elderly. This article is twofold: first, present the results of a qualitative study of perceptions of older people participating in competitive sports, then consider this notion in a broader sociocultural context. Data were collected through participation-observation and semi-structured interviews conducted with competitors (aged 55-94 years) in the Masters Games in Australia in 2001. The results were then analyzed using the strategies under both analysis and thematic analysis. From these data contains three main themes that we suggest that competitive sports offer seniors an environment enabling them to resist the negative factors associated with old age, as individuals in their interpersonal relationships or with the community, and that this context gives them a sense of personal enrichment, regardless of the reason for their participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-328
Number of pages26
JournalLoisir et Societe
Volume25
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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