The Essential Role of Sense of Community in a Youth Sport Program

Yen Chun Lin, Laurence Chalip, B. Christine Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This multiphased study identifies the salient benefits that parents seek for their families from a youth sport program. Phase 1, a preseason focus group study of parents of swimmers in three clubs (N = 15), indicated parents seek a sense of community for their children and themselves, and sense of community is linked to their desire for children to learn sport and life skills. Phase 2, a postseason survey of parents in the same three clubs (N = 129), tested the relationships among coaching quality, friendships, organizational communication, sport and life skills, sense of community, parents' satisfaction, and their repeat purchase intention. Using path analysis, sense of community was identified as the key driver of satisfaction and repeat purchase intention, with swimming improvement also having a significant effect on satisfaction. These findings highlight the central role sense of community plays for participants and their families in youth sport contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-481
Number of pages21
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016


  • parents
  • retention
  • sense of community
  • sport programming
  • youth sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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