Quarmby, Thomas Charles (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis reports on research regarding the influence of family structure on young people’s engagement in physical activity. It focussed on understanding how young people’s physical activity dispositions were constructed within wider structural forces that impacted on their everyday lives. A socio-cultural theoretical perspective was adopted and the data were collected using a mixed methods approach. Participants were young people from three inner city comprehensive schools in the Midlands, UK, who completed questionnaires (n = 381) and paired, semi-structured interviews (n = 62). All schools were from low socioeconomic areas since this provided a greater diversity of family structures. As such, three family types were most prominent in this study: intact-couple, lone parent and stepfamily. The data took the form of surveys and interview transcripts and were analysed using PASW Statistics and inductive and deductive procedures respectively. The analytical framework was influenced by the social theory of Bourdieu, recognising the importance of structure and agency. Family was recognised as a social ‘field’ that shaped young people’s dispositions towards specific activities. Moreover, the transmission of an intergenerational habitus within families was bound by their cultural, social and economic resources, which differed according to family structure and contributed to existing societal inequalities.
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