How to re-engage older adults in community sport? Reasons for drop-out and re-engagement

Claire Jenkin, Rochelle M. Eime, Jannique G.Z. Van Uffelen, Hans Westerbeek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Internationally, many sport policies articulate a desire for lifelong participation in sport. However, participation often fluctuates throughout the life span and most people drop-out at some stage. Most research on drop out of sport focuses on children and adolescents, with little attention towards other age groups. The aim of this study was to investigate why adults aged 50+ years dropped out of sport during their life, and how and why they may re-engage later in life. Eight focus groups (n = 49) were conducted, with Australian National Sporting Organisations; adults aged50+ years, who were either currently involved in sport (e.g. player/volunteer/coach) or not currently involved. The Socio-Ecological Model was used to frame the interview questions, and Leisure Constraints Theory was used to analyse the results. The main themes on drop-out included lack of appropriate playing opportunities; competing priorities; and low priority from sporting organisations. The main themes for re-engagement in sport at an older age included improving physical health; social opportunities, especially with family/friends; and having more leisure time. It is recommended that to re-engage adults aged 50+ years in active sport participation, organisations should focus on providing age appropriate playing opportunities, whilst ensuring that social interaction is an integral focus.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalLeisure Studies
Early online date27 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Mar 2021


  • Drop-out; sport participation; older adults; re-engagement


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