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The social benefits of informal and lifestyle sports. A research agenda


Gilchrist, P. & Wheaton, B.



International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics

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Understanding sport through the lens of social benefit has become a mainstay of sport policy analysis. A wealth of research has considered how sport contributes to achieving wider social benefits, including improvements to health and well-being, life satisfaction, crime reduction, community cohesion and activism, environmental stewardship, educational attainment, labour market participation, civic renewal, urban regeneration and developing youth (Coalter 2007, Oughton and Tacon 2007, Brookes and Wiggan 2009). Over the decades governments and policymakers have advocated the use of traditional or mainstream sports for combating a range of social ‘problems’, from youth disengagement to poor health. Most recently, fears about rising levels of inactivity and obesity, particularly amongst children, are increasingly driving sports-based interventions and the question of sport’s capacity to deliver public policy outcomes.


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