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Megjelent Varga Kinga és szerzőtársai tanulmánya a Plos One folyóiratban

Introduction

The European Union devotes significant and necessary attention to sport as a social and economic phenomenon contributing to its strategic objectives [13]. Consequently, the European Commission’s Directoreate-Generale of Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and its Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) address European sport-related issues through several programmes aimed to develop evidence-based policy in the field of sport, to foster cooperation between sports stakeholders, to promote initiatives in support of active lifestyles, and to tackle the European socio-economic policy agenda in sport [4].

Since the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 (EYES 2004) sport has been recognized as an educational and social inclusive tool. In particular, the European White Paper on Sports [5] introduced the term “dual career” (DC) to highlight the athletes’ right to combine sport and education for pursuing their holistic development, which is grounded on two fundamental human rights: The right of education [6], and the right to play [7]. Actually, the combination of sport and education is a long-lasting process starting at young ages, spanning across the developmental years, and lasting into adulthood. Throughout these years, the typology, volume, intensity and organization of sport-specific and academic-specific demands vary significantly, being also subjected to the different cultural dimensions, welfare systems and DC opportunities of the Member States of the European Union [812]. In addition, effectively managing a DC will increase the potential for the athlete to successful engage with society and the labour market at the end of their competitive years and to reduce the risk of dropout from either an academic or sporting career due to conflicting demands [11,13]. In light of the different DC approaches and policies in place, the European Commission published the European Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes [14] and tackles its implementation in the Member States, also financing collaborative partnerships between DC stakeholders, which have different roles, responsibilities, and visions in supporting the educational and/or sport development of the athletes.

In recent years, a multidisciplinary scientific research focus is contributing significantly to the development of a European DC culture [15,16], and a revised position statement on the athlete’s career development and transitions has been prepared [13]. The holistic development the athlete as a student, a conceptual framework of the athlete’s DC transitions with regard to four main domains (e.g., athletic, psychological, psychosocial, and academic/vocational) has been proposed [17]. In addition, ecological models of the athlete’s DC represent the circumstances, relationships, environments, and their interactions at the micro (e.g., the individual athlete), the meso (e.g., parents, peers, teachers/employers, coaches, sport managers), the macro (e.g., sport clubs/federations, educational institutions, and labour market), and the policy (e.g., national and European governing bodies) level, which influence the student-athlete development [11,12].

In highlighting the supporters of their DC at personal, sport, and academic levels, elite student-athletes stressed the relevant role parents play, mainly acting at the meso and most proximal dimension of their support entourage [18] in fact, a positive parental role of DC athletes includes emotional, motivational, instrumental, material, social, and informational, and financial support [19]. According to personal experiences and opinions of parents regarding their support of student-athletes, complex demands of parenting DC athletes emerge) [2025]. The thematic analysis of a recent systematic literature review on parenting DC athletes highlighted a two-level construct, encompassing individual and inter-individual aspects [26]. Within the individual level, the main themes pertained to the parents’ approach to both sport and education, and the parents’ coping capabilities to stressors, whereas the inter-individual level concerned the parents’ relationship with the athlete, and with the sport and academic environments. The authors concluded that there is a need to explore the interrelationships between relevant aspects affecting parenting DC athletes [26].

 

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