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Heredity And Socio-economic Conditions And It’s Influence On Sports Performance Of Student Athletes


The socio-economic status and hereditary of the family affects the offspring’s participation in physical activities and sports in school or outside the school. The current study aimed to assess the effect of heredity and socio-economic conditions determined by family income, parental education and parental occupation on the sports participations and performance in higher education in Lagos state. The study demonstrated a higher prevalence of female students among non- participants and a trend of lower participation among students from low income, parents‟ education and occupation. The socioeconomic status components showed influences on the students‟ perception on barriers of sports participation. Low parents‟ education was related to more significant perception of peer pressure barrier among participants. Similarly, low income and parents‟ education were related to considering sociocultural barrier as an important barrier among non-participants. Unexpectedly, high income and parents‟ education were related consider low priority and lack of interest as significant barriers among participants. The study re-emphasizes the effect of the socioeconomic status on sports participation and the  students‟ perception for participation.






  • Background of Study

Sports have become a major business and attraction for the Nigerian public and it is not surprising, therefore, that the popularity of professionals has been reflected in the sports programme of senior high schools. The pressure to win is felt by most senior high school coaches and heads of schools. It is therefore not surprising that a conflict has developed between the academic and sports communities on many of the nation’s school. While a number of researchers studied sports participation and academic performance in college (Ferris & Finster, 2004; Gaston-Gayles, 2005), few studies addressed the relationship between academics and sports participation at the high school level. Similarly, these studies have focused on the comparison of non-athletes to athletes; with respect to a variety of dependent variables (Yiannakis and Melnick, 2001). The effect of participation on athletics, with respect to its direct effect on the participants themselves, has not been investigated in the literature. Taras (2005) conducted a review of studies on younger students and the effect that physical activity had on school performance.  The research review conducted by him demonstrated that there may be some short-term improvements due to physical activity, specifically with respect to concentration, but there is no well substantiated long-term improvement of academic achievement as a result of more vigorous physical activity. The author also noted that the relationship between physical activity in students and academic outcomes requires further elucidation.

In recent times, students’ academic performance has been questioned by many people in the country. Most people blame students’ poor academic performance on teachers and sports. With these arguments coming up, some people suggested for a cut or reduction in school sports. These had come to the attention of the researcher to find out the effect of participation in sports on academic performance among senior high schools in Lagos state Municipality. Sports appear to be an attractive aspect of the high school experience to many students (Fisher, Juszczak, & Friedman, 1996). Fisher et al. conducted an investigation on the positive and negative correlates of sports participation on inner-city high school students. An anonymous survey was distributed to 838 participants, where 45% were male and 55% were female (Fisher et al, 1996). All the 838 students who were interviewed, the authors found that all of them participated in sports in some ways. The most common sports were basketball, volleyball, baseball, and weight lifting. The participants were found to have most commonly reported that enjoyment, recreation, and competition were reasons for participation. The authors found a significant percentage of students regarded sports as more important than school. Thirty-five percent of youths fell into that category (Fisher et al, 1996).

Socio-economic status (SES) is “an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation” [1]. Heredity make-up of a family will be reflected on the family members‟ habits and hobbies. It can be reflected on the person‟s opportunities to advance in studies and qualifications. One of the main aspects of life that can be affected by heredity is the level of physical activities and sports participation. Several researches have been conducted to study the effect of heredity on sports persons, team sport versus individual sport [2, 3]. Studies reported that teens from low SES families were less physically active compared to their counterparts from high socio-economic levels [4]. Heredity affects also the sports options of an individual, as demonstrated by Lee et al study where level students of low SES opted for less expensive sports and students of high SES opted for expensive sports [5]. Studies revealed also that heredity make-up of an individual influences the daily habits and life achievements including physical activity and sports performance [6]. Our previous study has shown that the different aspects of heredity affects the sports participation and the level of physical activity among students in the medical group [7]. In general, it was found that people from high levels of SES score the highest rates of sports participation and sports events attendance and follow- up [8]. Concerning economic indicators, several general tendencies can be observed. First of all, income plays a significant role with regards to sport participation, meaning that individuals with higher income are more likely to participate in sports [9]. However, Lera-López and Rapún-Gárate find that the income level has no influence on sport participation [10].

In addition to the tight schedule and huge academic burden on level students, several barriers have been identified to explain the students‟ willingness or reluctance to participate in sports. The extent to which heredity can influence the students‟ perception to these barriers and correlate that to their participation level has not been studied. The current study was undertaken to assess the effect of socio- economic status on the sports barriers‟ perception among participants and non-sports participants in higher education institutions in Lagos state.


1.2 Statement of Problem

What this introduction has shown is that it is important to study student-athletes and their parents in order to gain a better understanding of the experiences of college athletes and to better understand their athletic and academic behaviors. Previous research on parental influence typically focuses on younger children and teens (Abar & Turrisi, 2008; Agliata & Renk, 2008). Also, through reviewing much of the relevant literature for this dissertation, it was found that research tends to focus on academic influence or athletic influence with overlap being very rare. Little research has examined how parents influence their college student-athlete’s athletic and academic performances. This dissertation attempts to fill that gap in the literature.



1.3 Research objectives

  1. To determine the effect of heredity on students’ performance in sport activities.
  2. To determine the effect of parents socioeconomic status on students’ performance in sport activities.


1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the effect of heredity on students’ performance in sport activities?
  2. What are the effect of parents socioeconomic status on students’ performance in sport activities?


1.5 Significance of the Study

The study will help policy makers to plan well for all programme levels which will not bring any problems during the academic season. Furthermore, the study will serve as basis for intervention programmes to policy makers and stakeholders in sports and education.  Academically successful student athletes appeared to be able to respond to the increased demands and transfer the qualities of hard work, discipline, and perseverance traits necessary for successful athletic performance to their lives. Participation in sports have the potential of generating community ownership of schools, democracy in school governance and accountability of teachers, trust and overall performance of schools in various ways especially where the level of participation was high. The study would provide useful insights into the roles of communities and the challenges faced by communities in sport development in Nigeria. For these students, academics and athletics complemented and reinforced one another. In fact, some student from good parental background did better when their sport is in season, and reported that the time and energy demanded by athletics provide the incentive to become more focused and efficient.

1.6 Limitations

The following are some of the major challenges and limitations encountered by the researcher in conducting the study.

  1. There was the initial reluctance by school authorities to release schools sports records.
  2. The participants in the overall study came from one specific Senior High School in Lagos state Municipality in the Volta Region. As a result, the applicability of the study may be limited to schools with similar demographics.


1.7 Delimitation

  1. The scope of the study was restricted to only senior high schools in Lagos state.
  2. It was delimited to only students’ sports performance.
  3. The study was delimited to those students who participated in sports.


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