UBC Undergraduate Research

Female Students Participation in Intramurals Chieu, Lilly; Diu, Liana; McNeill, Payton; Nguyen, Hai; Roberts, Kendra


The identification and understanding of upper-year female student’s barriers and social outcomes of the participation of intramurals was done by upper-year Kinesiology students in the University of British Columbia (UBC) for a class project. Although 56% of the undergraduate population at UBC are females, there has been a decline of female participation from intramural participation (Fact Sheet Winter 2019, 2019). The assumption that upper-year students should be more aware of UBC Athletics and Recreation events and past research indicating that female participation in intramurals are stagnant throughout year levels, attributed to the scope of research narrowing to focus on upper year female students (Elkins, Forrester & Noël-Elkins, 2011). Furthermore, Student Involvement Theory, the Theoretical Model of Dropout Behaviour, and past research has identified that recreational sports, like intramurals, provide better sense of community involvement and increases in social, psychological, and physical well being, which guided the survey to focus on community outcomes and the possible barriers to participation (Astin, 1999; Tinto, 1975; Elkins et al., 2011; Sturts & Ross, 2013; Artinger et al. 2006). The survey itself was guided by Artinger et al. (2006) and Elkins et al. (2011) which had a heavy focus on community involvement, but additional demographic and possible barriers were created by our group. Surveys were created on Qualtrics with 9 demographic questions and 12 Likert type questions. Throughout March 2020, the distribution of surveys was advertised to upper-year lectures at UBC, to clubs, to individuals, on flyers, and online. Incentives were also used to help with recruitment, which was an entry to win two $25 gift cards or two yoga mats. Possible challenge and limitation identified in our study was sample sizes, sampling balance, desirability bias, lack of baseline and small sample sizes of comparison groups. Results showed beneficial social outcomes with an individual’s participation in intramurals, and that co-ed teams were more popular for females rather than all female teams. Additionally, top identified barriers to participation was “I am too tired after my day is finished,” “I don’t have someone to participate with,” and “I don’t consider myself good at the sports offered”. Recommendations to improve participation for females at UBC were to: 1) Provide more co-ed opportunities; 2) Offer incentives; 3) Continually collect data to have better understanding of trends throughout the years; 4) Provide more or different varieties for sports and 5) Allow free agents, which would match individuals or pairs with other individuals to create teams. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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