North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Conference
June 2012, Honolulu, HI, United States of America
Faster, higher, stronger, …, and younger? Birth order, sibling sport participation and sport expertise
Melissa J. Hopwood 1, Joseph Baker 2, Clare MacMahon 1 & Damian Farrow 1,3
1. Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
2. York University, Toronto, Canada
3. Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
In the sporting domain, siblings can act as role models, practice partners, team mates, supporters, motivators, and even rivals. As such, they are an important consideration when investigating influences on sport expertise. The current study examined the characteristics and patterns of participation in sport and physical activity of siblings of 229 athletes from Australia and Canada, representing 36 sports and three skill levels (non elite, pre elite, and elite). Although there was no association between skill level and number of siblings, there was significant birth order effect, with elite athletes more likely to be later born children than both non elite and pre elite athletes (χ2(4) = 15.10, p < .01). Siblings of elite athletes were more likely to participate in various types of physical activity on a regular basis compared to siblings of non elite athletes, with older siblings of elite athletes participating in general fitness activities (χ2(2) = 6.20, p < .05) and recreational sport (χ2(2) = 6.63, p < .05) more regularly than older siblings of non elite athletes, and younger siblings of elite athletes participating in competitive sport more regularly than younger siblings of non elite athletes (χ2(2) = 11.77, p < .01). When participating in competitive sport, siblings of elite athletes typically reached the pre elite or elite levels of competition whereas siblings of non elite athletes participated at the non elite level only (χ2(4) = 17.04, p < .01). Interestingly, older siblings of elite athletes were less likely to have participated in the athlete’s main sport compared to older siblings of non elite athletes (χ2(2) = 6.62, p < .05). These results provide valuable insight into sibling dynamics as they relate to sport expertise, including both the influences that older siblings may exert on athletes as well as the influence the athlete may have on their younger siblings.
To cite this presentation:
Hopwood, M.J., Baker, J., MacMahon, C., & Farrow, D (2012). Faster, higher, stronger, …, and younger? Birth order, sibling sport participation and sport expertise. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 34, S235.
The Pathways to the Podium Research Project
Publications and Presentations
An investigation of the development of sport expertise
Pathways to the Podium Research Project