The influence of child-related factors on caregiver perceptions of their child’s sustained participation in a community football program: a study of children with and without neurodevelopmental disorders

Carmel Sivaratnam, Bethany Devenish, Tayla Chellew, Nicole Papadopoulos, Jane McGillivray, Nicole Rinehart

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This study evaluated the influence of activity preference and involvement on season completion in a community-based football program for children with and without neurodevelopmental disorders. Caregivers (n = 1428) of 1529 children aged 4 to 17 (M = 7.27, SD = 1.85), with (n = 175) and without (n = 1354) neurodevelopmental disorders who were currently participating or had previously participated in a group-based NAB AFL Auskick football program completed an online survey. The survey collected information on their child’s completion of any attempted seasons of the football program, level of involvement during the sessions and preference for football over other sports and activities. Eighty percent of children with a neurodevelopmental diagnosis had completed all seasons of Auskick, compared with 93% of children without a neurodevelopmental diagnosis. Results indicated that children with neurodevelopmental disorders (n = 135) were 3.71 times less likely to complete a football season than their typically developing peers (n = 903). Higher levels of involvement during football sessions and greater preference for football were linked to a higher football season completion rate, irrespective of neurodevelopmental disability diagnosis. This study highlights the influence of child-related factors, in particular, preference and involvement, on chil-dren’s sustained participation in community football programs, regardless of neurodevelopmental disability status.

Original languageEnglish
Article number831
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Involvement
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Organised physical activity
  • Participation

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