What sport do you prefer to do?" Improving knowledge of adolescents' preferred sports within the sport participation decline framework.

  • Gatouillat Colin
  • Luiggi Maxime
  • Griffet Jean
  • Travert Maxime


Background: Sport participation is declining in some European countries. Previous findings recommended considering territorial specificities to adapt local sports promotion programs. However, in France, little is known about adolescents’ preferences and their changes across time. This study aimed to measure preferred sports and their changes among a representative sample of adolescents of the third biggest French département. Methods: Data were extracted from a previous cross-sectional study that used a quota sampling design to respect the proportions of advantaged and disadvantaged schools. The present study involved 744 and 938 participants, in 2001 and 2015, respectively. Adolescent preferences were calculated by sex and socioeconomic status (SES). Multiple binary logistic regressions were performed to measure changes between 2001 and 2015 by sex and SES. Results: Sports preferences and their evolution differed by sex and SES. Three cases were observed: no significant change in sports preferences (low-SES boys); a sharp loss of interest for some sports (low-SES girls and high-SES boys); and a sharp loss of interest for some sports whilst others gained significant interest (high-SES girls). Conclusions: This knowledge may help the development of sport promotion programs. Future sport policies could choose to develop sports that are preferred and increasingly appreciated by adolescents. Key words: sport participation; sport preferences; sport promotion; public health.