Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Carrie LeCrom


The purpose of this study was to understand the role of Sport for Development (SFD) in addressing health disparities in low-SES communities. This was done using a multiple case study design, in which administrators, staff, and youth participants from five SFD programs were interviewed. A theoretical model, consisting of the theory of fundamental causes (Link & Phelan, 1995), the classification of SFD programs (Coalter, 2007), and the ecological model of health promotion (McLeroy, 1988), was developed to guide this study.

Interviews were transcribed and then analyzed using a deductive coding process (Gilgun, 2005). The findings revealed that the SFD programs in this study were driven by goals such as providing access and opportunity to sport, helping youth develop life skills, and promoting health. The programs worked to achieve those goals by providing education, through their use of sport, and by providing resources and services. Finally, the programs in this study promote health at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, organization, environment, and policy levels. These findings hold various practical, scholarly, and policy implications and could shed light on how SFD programs may operate in order to reduce health disparities among low-SES populations.


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