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Does sport-participation improve health?

a panel analysis on the role of educational attainment, economic deprivation and work-family load

Coenders, F., Mensvoort, C. van, Kraaykamp, G., & Breedveld, K. (2017). Does sport-participation improve health?: a panel analysis on the role of educational attainment, economic deprivation and work-family load. European journal for sport and society 14 (pp. 45-59)

In this study the researchers analyze the connection between a person's sport-participation and reported subjective health. They hypothesize that this relationship may be affected by educational attainment, economic deprivation and work-family load in two manners. First, these resources may function as common determinants of health and sports participation causing a spurious effect. Moreover, they may moderate this relationship as physical activity might be more beneficial for groups that experience a lack of resources. Their second goal is to study differences between people, and also to investigate developments within individuals' life courses. In doing so, a stronger claim on causation is feasible. The NEtherlands Longitudinal Lifecourse Study (NELLS) 2009/2013 on the Dutch population of 15-45 years is used to test our hypotheses with cross-sectional and fixed effect models. Their results show that men and women who have a higher sports frequency report better subjective health, but for women differences in subjective health are partially explained by education, economic deprivation and work-family load. They hardly find moderating effects of these particular resources. This underscores that sport-participation is beneficial among members of all educational groups, with various work-family loads and for both people in wealth and poverty.

Uitgever(s): Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group,


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Fabienne Coenders
Carly van Mensvoort
Gerbert Kraaykamp
Koen Breedveld

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