It seems common knowledge that school sport participation leads to all kinds of social, educational and health outcomes. However, it may also be that students with a certain predisposition, sometimes referred to as sporting habitus, are more inclined to participate in school sports and that the 'outcomes' were already present before participation. Several studies indicated that identity formation mediates between sport participation and the outcomes described. Therefore, a longitudinal survey study was used to investigate whether participation in an elementary school sport competition brought about changes in the formation of sport identity and student identity of students. The results of the study showed that participation in the competition was not related to changes in the sport identity and student identity of the children. In contrast to commonplace assumptions about the socialising effects of school sport participation, the results indicate that participating in this school sport competition did not influence the student identity and sport identity of children. It may be that a selected, predisposed group of children with a strong sport identity participates in school sports, although future research is necessary to test this hypothesis.

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European Journal of Sport Science
Department of Sociology

Pot, N., Schenk, N., & van Hilvoorde, I. (2013). School sports and identity formation: Socialisation or selection?. European Journal of Sport Science. doi:10.1080/17461391.2013.873483