Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research On Capitol Hill 2014

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Travis Dorsch


Nearly 90% of American youth participate in organized youth sport during childhood and/or adolescence. Parents are important contributors, as they typically encourage/ initiate children’s sport involvement and provide instrumental and emotional support for children over their careers. Although parent involvement is instrumental in youth sport, media and anecdotal reports often characterize sport parents as a necessary evil. This has led to a cultural debate on the appropriateness of parent involvement in youth sport, and what impact that might have on child outcomes. However, despite the rising costs associated with youth sport participation, few researchers have examined the potential impact of family financial investment on parent and child outcomes in youth sport. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine how families’ investment in travel and club sports impacted children’s sport enjoyment and motivation to participate. Parents and athletes from 203 families responded to survey items pertaining to family demographics, parent involvement (e.g., pressure and support), as well as the children’s sport enjoyment and motivation to participate. Data illuminate an inverse association between family financial investment and sport enjoyment via higher levels of parent pressure, highlighting the potentially harmful impact of families’ high financial investment in children’s organized youth sport.