Experiences of Aboriginal parents in the context of junior rugby league

Steven B. Rynne, Cassandra K. Dittman, Keane W. Wheeler, Cliff J. Mallett, Matthew R. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The proportion of Aboriginal peoples in a variety of Australian sports are at a much higher levels than their proportion of the overall population in Australia. Given the relative absence of Aboriginal parents in discussions of parenting, and the strong involvement of Aboriginal peoples in sport, the experiences of Aboriginal parents within Junior Rugby League (JRL) were explored in this study. The aim was to consider the key factors impacting the behaviours and emotional reactions of parents with a view to supporting parents in JRL settings. Participants were parents of JRL players (aged 8 to 16 years) in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. As part of a large-scale online survey (N = 1418), 117 Aboriginal parents reported their demographic background, spectator behaviour and emotions, sport-related beliefs and attitudes, child behaviour, parenting, and personal wellbeing. Analyses comparing Aboriginal parents to remaining sample of non-Aboriginal parents revealed that Aboriginal parents identified more highly with rugby league and had a greater investment in the sport than their non-Aboriginal parenting peers. The findings allow further explorations in relation to aspects of connection and kinship, and we argue that JRL may be positioned as a potentially generative site of support for Aboriginal parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-768
Number of pages18
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023


  • Aboriginal
  • Indigenous parents
  • Parenting
  • children
  • sport
  • youth


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