Sport, educational engagement and positive youth development: Reflections of Aboriginal former youth sports participants

Document Type

Journal Article


Cambridge University Press


School of Arts and Humanities




Originally published as: Fitch, N., Ma'ayah, F., Harms, C., & Guilfoyle, A. (2017). Sport, Educational Engagement and Positive Youth Development: Reflections of Aboriginal Former Youth Sports Participants. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 46(1) 1-11. Original article available here


Participation in sport during high school has been linked with a range of educational and developmental benefits. However, there is limited research investigating the benefits of participation in sport from the perspective of Aboriginal former youth sports participants. The purpose of the current research was to investigate how participation in sports impacted on the educational engagement, aspirations and development of Aboriginal former youth sports participants. Interpretive phenomenological analysis of semistructured interviews with six participants was conducted. Analysis was conducted utilising the Positive Youth Development asset framework. Participants reported a positive influence for their participation in youth sport on key education related assets including, achievement motivation, school engagement and relationships with teachers. Participants also reflected upon the role of participation in youth sports in the development of empowerment and positive identity assets. For these participants, involvement in youth sport had clear educational and developmental benefits. It is concluded that youth sports participation is one developmental context with the potential to have a positive influence on the educational and developmental trajectory of Aboriginal youth.