Date of Completion


Embargo Period



sport based youth development, Black/Hispanic adolescent girls, peer influence

Major Advisor

Jennifer McGarry

Associate Advisor

Laura Burton

Associate Advisor

Joseph Cooper

Field of Study

Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Black and Hispanic adolescent girls are among those with the highest risks for physical inactivity. Previous research has demonstrated the importance of peer support in influencing their participation in physical activity. However, little research has addressed the ways in which the peer relationships in sport based youth development (SBYD) programs influence adolescents’ participation and engagement choices. The purpose of this study was to explore the peer experiences of Black and Hispanic adolescent girls in a school-based SBYD program and the influences on their participation and engagement behaviors.

Using a case study design, I looked at the role of the greater school environment, peers, and adults. Six adolescent members and seven adult leaders of the focus SBYD program took part in this study. Data were collected through a combination of participant-created sociograms, interviews, and participant observations and analyzed using thematic analysis. This work was informed by intersectionality, the SBYD framework, the framework of peer experiences, and the peer influence model.

The findings of this research centered on eight themes and indicate the intertwined nature of the school context and the program: the greater school climate of low expectations and aggression, surveillance, obstruction, relationship issues, an ego-oriented climate, adult involvement, and perceptions of the program overall. study is significant because of the focus on greater environment surrounding the program, the focus on the interconnections on a singular SBYD group, and the addition it makes to the literature with the voices of Black and Hispanic girls.