Children’s intensive participation in sport and peer relations: Evidence from a Danish longitudinal school study

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In a Danish context, elite sports classes have been moved into the educational system. However, moving the selection of young sports talents into state schools conflicts with the spirit of the equality concept on which the Danish educational system is built. In the light of this debate, it is relevant to address whether demanding training has a harmful or beneficial impact on pupils’ social life. Using a longitudinal dataset of 1,095 Danish pupils in the Municipality of Aalborg, this paper attempts to estimate the impact of sports participation on peer relations, considering different levels of sports dedication. Our results indicate that sports participation increases peer relations in sports, however less for pupils involved in ‘energy’ and especially ‘time’ demanding training. From a policy perspective, on the basis of our results, it can be argued that elite sports classes reduces pupils’ social lives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)335-352
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • Sports participation
  • elite sports classes
  • peer relations
  • rational choice model

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