The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the nature and source of family influences on sport participation in Masters athletes of varying skill and training commitment levels (from recreational to elite competitors). Participants were 14 married adults (nine men and five women) aged 46'61 years (M=50) from Ontario, Canada. Ten from the group had teenaged or university-aged children. Semi-structured interviews were aimed at understanding the role of family members in the athletes' sport involvement, the athletes' experiences of family support, absence of support, and family conflicts. Key themes in the data were: spousal (and children's) support by 'allowing' (i.e. not questioning or complaining about sport participation); scheduling (as a source of, and to avoid, conflict) with spouse; spouses (and parent/children) training together/training separately; and the indirect influence of children. This study shows that both positive and negative forms of family support can be negotiated to allow for ongoing sport participation in mid-later life. It brings together insights from research on the leisure constraints negotiation process, family and leisure participation, gender issues in leisure, and social support in sport and physical activity contexts.
Dionigi, R., Fraser-Thomas, J., & Logan, J. (2012). The nature of family influences on sport participation in Canadian Masters athletes. Annals of leisure research, 15(4), 366-388. https://doi.org/10.1080/11745398.2012.744274