Immigration experience and sport participation of first-generation Chinese immigrants

林 彥君(Yen-Chun Lin), 陳 美燕( Mei-Yen Chen)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Chinese cultural attitudes toward sports in general remain inhibited by the traditional belief that development of mental faculties is much more important than development of physical capacities. For sport managers to effectively serve this population, need assessments are necessary and valuable for program provisions. Thus, this study explored the sport participation and integration experiences of first-generation Chinese immigrants in the United States in order to improve sport provision to immigrants. Methods: Ten first-generation Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants, six males and four females, were contacted through personal connections and snowball sampling for semi-structured interviews. The participants ranged in age from 40-63 years, were all middle-class, and ranged in length of stay in the U.S. from 13-32 years. Results: Three principal themes emerged, which were common to participants but manifested in different life stories. One theme is that immigrants participated in more styles of recreational sport activities and more frequently than they had before immigrating. Another theme is social relations generated from sport and leisure participation was significant for immigrants' ethnic networks and non-ethnic peers. Sport and leisure participation was a useful vehicle for immigrants to facilitate their social relations in the new country. The other theme is their concepts of sport positively changed after immigration but the priority of sport participation and value of sport remained secondary compared to traditional emphasis. Conclusion: For sport program managers, sport participation can be appealing to first-generation Chinese immigrants as their concepts regarding sport changed and participation frequency increased. However, the social relations built through sports play a pivotal role for immigrants' integration to their new country, which should be highlighted in program designation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-481
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • sport development
  • social relations
  • social inclusion
  • 運動發展
  • 社會人際關係
  • 社會融和


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