Promoting the development of social networks: An Italian study with children at- risk

Chiara D'Angelo, Caterina Gozzoli, 27256, DI PSICOLOGIA FACOLTA', MILANO - Dipartimento di Psicologia

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


Sport is one of the most practised leisure activities, especially among young people. The potential of the fun and socialising dimension of sport makes it a very attractive tool for different categories of people. Recent studies showed that sport is one of the leisure activities (e.g. youth movements, youth centres, youth out-reach practices) through which it is easier to engage the so called “hard-to-reach youth” (Haudenhuysea, Theebooma & Skilleb, 2014). Proposing sporting activities to the target group of youth population at-risk often works out on multiple levels to promote well-being, by developing opportunities for socialisation, strengthening feelings of effectiveness and membership of peer groups (Coalter, 2002). The primary objective of these projects is to foster processes of social inclusion, by enhancing opportunities for involvement in community life, developing a sense of belonging and activation as well as creating social networks through sports (Schulenkorf, 2012). Starting up projects for children from marginal areas and at-risk groups that use sport as a tool for action means not only working on individuals or on smaller groups, but also calling upon synergistic networks of social players who take charge of the stories and situations of those children and involve them in targeted actions (Collins & Key, 2003; Coakley, 2011, Coalter, 2010). This paper showcases an evaluation research on a social inclusion project of children at risk of delinquency in an Italian metropolitan area from 2013- 2014. Its aim is to assess whether and how the project was able to activate and develop a network between sports clubs and local groups, longitudinal, participatory evaluation research project was conducted. For this purpose 4 focus groups (with the operators of 7 sports clubs and 9 social cooperatives) and 8 in-depth interviews (with the implementers of the project) were conducted, with a total of 20 subjects involved. All the material was fully transcribed verbatim, then analysed with the help of the software Atlas.ti (7.0 version) using a grounded theory approach. The results highlight how the process of network creation had gradually increased the perception of complexity in the idea of sports, from the involved subjects’ perspective and a progressive awareness of adult players being effective agents of the process of social inclusion of children through the establishment of a real network. The results of the evaluation research reveal that the success of a project of social inclusion for children at risk strongly depends on the promotion/establishment of a cultural change for the various stakeholders involved at the regional level, both with respect to the concept of the potential of sport and the respective role of different actors in taking charge of the children. The study could be a good starting point to plan policies of social intervention aimed to promote inclusive social networks supporting marginal population.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteSport Psychology - Theories and Application for Performance, Health and Humanities. Proceedings of the 14th European Congress of Sport Psychology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015
Evento14th European Congress of Sport Psychology - Berna
Durata: 14 lug 201519 lug 2015


Convegno14th European Congress of Sport Psychology


  • social networks
  • sport


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