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McGovern Examines Latinx Youth Sport Participation

Paper explores effects of gender, class, ethnicity, and language on Latinx youth sport participation

Jen McGovern, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology, has published an article, “Are Latinx youth getting in the game? The effects of gender, class, ethnicity, and language on Latinx youth sport participation,” in the March 2021 issue of the journal, “Latino Studies.”

McGovern’s research concluded that US Latinx youth, especially teenage girls, are less likely than other ethnoracial groups to participate in sports, and explores factors that differ for boys and for girls. Data on sport participation was collected for a subset of eighth and tenth graders (n = 15,766) who participated in the “Monitoring the Future” ongoing study of American youth. Regression analysis suggests that boys were more likely than girls to play sports and that the influence of socioeconomic status was slightly stronger among girls. McGovern also found that participation in sports was higher in native-English-speaking girls than among girls who learned English as a second language.

McGovern specializes in understanding how sport both reflects and challenges social inequalities, such as social class, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and sexuality. Her current research focuses on female athletes. She has written about female athlete attitudes about sexual assault and Latina women’s experiences in sport. She is currently partnering with colleagues in the Monmouth University Health and Physical Education department to deliver and research after-school physical education programs in Asbury Park. She is also working with students and faculty in Psychology Department to conduct research on the gendering of sport toys.

“Latino Studies” is a peer reviewed journal that explores the local, national, transnational, and hemispheric realities that influence the Latina and Latino presence in the United States. The journal presents an international research agenda that builds bridges between the academic and non-academic worlds, and promotes mutual learning and collaboration among all the Latino national groups.