Barriers towards participation

The socio-ecological model shows that there are multiple, interconnected barriers which affect the participation levels of BME’s in sport, the model is broken down into three sections personal, social and environmental barriers towards participation in sport (Cleland et al, 2008). The personal centre of the model includes personal factors that increase or decrease the likelihood of an individual being physically active such as having lack of motivation or beliefs which affect your participation levels (Koshoedo, Simkhada & Teijlingen, 2009). Research has shown that people in the BME communities did not associate physical activity with members of their own community but rather described physical activity as a ‘white, middle-class, male domain’ (Roper, 2007). The model also presents the barriers which are present for the BME communities socially, research showed that one of the main barriers was religious beliefs being violated by the dress code, segregation and prayer times these all affected participation time. Research has also shown that there is not the opportunities for BME communities to get involved as many religions especially Muslims can only play gender allocated sports which have to have dress codes which completely cover their body, this can also be affected by having a lack of culturally appropriate facilities (Benn & Jawad, 2011). A lack of role models in the BME community is also a factor which contributes to the low levels of physical activity levels, the lack of media coverage is significant as it plays a ‘central role in informing knowledge, opinions and attitudes of sport’(Sports Scotland, 2008).  Sporting equals created a tennis activator which allowed the delivery of tennis to grassroots, this allowed them to work with families to provide a place in which BMEs felt safe and happy to get involved in sport. Furthermore, research suggests that families play an important role in influencing participation in sport, there are many barriers such as parental approval, as many parents from the BME community didn’t have the chance to partake in sport in their younger years, meaning they never understood the benefits of physical activity. The reason for their isolation of sport was due to their lack of employment and language barriers (Kay, 2005). The environmental barriers which occur are the lack of knowledge and opportunities for the BME community to participate in sport, this is suggested in Fredricks and Eccles (2004) work where there is not enough advertising of the different activities that are being held in that area.




Benn, T., & Jawad, H. (2011), Muslim Women and Sport, London, Routledge.

Cleland, V., Dwyer, T., Blizzard, L. & Venn A. (2008). The provision of compulsory school physical activity: Associations with physical activity, fitness and overweight in childhood and twenty years later. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. 5 (14).

Fredricks, J, A., & Eccles, J, S. (2004). Parental Influences on Youth Involvement in Sports. Developmental Sport and Exercise Psychology: A Lifespan Perspective. Virgina: Fitness Information Technology, Inc.

Kay, T. (2005). Daughters of Islam. Family Influences on Muslim Young Women’s Participation in Sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 41(3). 357-373.

Koshoedo, S, A., Simkhada, P., & Teiijlingen, E, R, V. (2009). Review of Barriers to Engaging Black and Minority Ethnic Groups in Physical Activity in the United Kingdom. Global Journal of Health Science.  2, 85-96.

Roper, E, A. (2007). Women Working in the Applied Domain: Examining the Gender Bias in Applied Sport Psychology. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. 1(14), 53-66.

Sports Scotland. (2008). Sports Participation in Scotland. Glasgow: Sportscotland.





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