'Fear of being judged’ found to be one of the top reasons why girls disengage with sport during their teenage years:

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10th March 2022 16:55 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

'Fear of being judged’ found to be one of the top reasons why girls disengage with sport during their teenage years: A survey of teenage girls has found that more than two-fifths who consider themselves 'sporty' at primary school (43%) lose interest in taking part in sports and physical activity as they move through their teenage years. Asking respondents about their reasons for the drop off in interest, the survey found that 73% cited a dislike of others watching them, while 68% cited a fear of being judged. A lack of confidence was also a top reason given as to why teenage girls no longer want to take part in physical activity (61%).

The research, titled, 'Reframing Sport for Teenage Girls' was conducted by Women in Sport and polled more than 4,000 female teenagers. It also found that just under half (47%) said they were 'too busy' with school work to continue with sports.

The findings suggest that menstruation could be a significant reason why girls pull away from sports during their teenage years, with one in seven (70%) saying that they avoided doing any sport when they had their period. Amongst girls who said they used to be sporty at primary school, more than three-quarters (78%) reported avoiding taking part in sport during their period. This percentage was higher than respondents who had said they had never been sporty (69%) and those who were still 'passionately involved with sport' (64%).

When asked about the reasons for not wanting to take part in physical activity during their period, pain, tiredness and feeling self-conscious were all cited as contributing factors.

In addition, the survey found that amongst participants aged 11 to 16, just 37% of girls said they enjoyed taking part in sports, compared with 54% of boys. It also found that by the time they reached the age of 17 to 18, just 3 in 10 girls would describe themselves as 'sporty', compared with six in 10 of their male counterparts.

The report concluded that teenage girls should be offered further support as they go through puberty to help support their engagement with physical activity.

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