Using focus group interviews to explore sources of enjoyment among children in sport

Paul J. McCarthy, Marc V. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


This study examined the sources of enjoyment among a sample (n=45) of British children in middle to late childhood (ages 8-12 years) who participated in organized sport. Harter's competence motivation theory (1978: Human Development, 21, 34-64) suggests that individuals have a natural desire to experience feelings of competence and these feelings may be attained through mastery experiences in various achievement domains (e.g. academic, social relationships). Also, positive affective feelings (e.g. enjoyment) are associated with feelings of mastery which in turn increase motivation. Researchers in sport and exercise settings in North America and Canada have already identified perceived competence as being moderately or strongly related to sport enjoyment, with sport enjoyment being a dominant motive for participating in youth and elite sport. However, little qualitative or quantitative research examining the construct of sport enjoyment has emerged from other cultures such as Great Britain. Moreover, cognitive-developmental considerations in the design of research measures for use with children are scarce (see Brustad, 1998: In Advances in Sport and Exercise Psychology Measurement, edited by J. Duda, pp. 461-470. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology). In the present study, focus group interviews were used as they have many practical applications when working with children. First, they allow the child's unique perspective to be examined. Second, they overcome the difficulties children may experience in understanding both the text and context of paper and pencil measures. Finally, cognitive-developmental differences between age groups can be minimized by grouping the participants within a two-year age span.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-180
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • focus group interviews
  • children in sport
  • sport psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Using focus group interviews to explore sources of enjoyment among children in sport'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this