Involvement in Physical Leisure Activities in Low Income Households

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: 412
Oral Presentation
Liv Johanne SOLHEIM , Fac. of Education and Social Work, Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway
Inger Marie BAKKE , Fac. of Education and Social Work, Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway
Jorid HOVDEN , Inst. for sociology and political science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
In Norway as in most other Western countries, the research body on involvement in physical leisure activities like sports and fitness activities indicates a strong connection between high involvement, good health and social inclusion and well-being. However, this connection detects an involvement pattern shaped by social class and social exclusion. Families with low economic, cultural and social capital have the lowest involvement in physical leisure activities as well as the biggest health problems.

 The paper will focus on: (1) how parents in low income households conceive, experience and handle their possibilities to participate in physical leisure activities and sports in their local communities, and further 2) what impacts these conditions may have on children’s participation in physical leisure activities.

 The data material consists of qualitative interview from a strategic sample of parents belonging to low income households. Both Norwegian and non western immigrant households are represented in the sample.

 The overall findings showed that the involvement in physical leisure activities was strongly restricted by lack of economic capital both for the parents and the children. Most of the informants were single mothers and they had no resources to give priority to their own wishes for participation in fitness- and leisure activities. The children were also deprived of the opportunities to participate and thus less included in the peer groups in their neighbourhood.  Even though the studied households possessed low economic capital, they differed in cultural and social capital. Those with the highest amount of cultural and social capital were also those who were able to articulate and claim their needs for finance support for leisure activities from the municipal social service.