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Survey Overview

The National Sports and Society Survey (NSASS) is a landmark survey of 4,000 U.S. adults that collects information on sports-related attitudes and the dimensions and contexts of sports involvement experiences. Specifically, the NSASS asks about one's:

  1. opinions on sports-related issues,
  2. current sports-related experiences,
  3. sports-related experiences while growing up, and
  4. child's sports-related experiences (if applicable).

This information is complemented with background information on the respondents and their reports of their health and well-being, behaviors, and social connections.

Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the study is twofold. First, it seeks to gather comprehensive information about the extent to which people are involved in sports in the U.S. and the predictors of their sports involvement patterns. A central focus of this aim is to better understand sports involvement patterns, expenditures, and inequalities. Second, the study seeks to provide information that will enable analyses of the links between one's sports involvement experiences and one's attitudes, health and well-being, behaviors, and social connections. Overall, findings from the study are expected to improve our understanding of the patterns and implications of sports involvement and lead to evidence-based recommendations for how sports should be organized, offered, and endorsed.

Research Team

The research team for the NSASS consists of Professor Chris Knoester, principal investigator, with support from members of CHRR and the Sports and Society Initiative (SSI) at The Ohio State University. Funding for the project has been provided by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences through SSI.

Professor Knoester is an accomplished family sociologist who has taught sociology of sport classes for nearly 20 years. Along with his work on the NSASS, he is transitioning into sports sociology research.

Professor Knoester also has an extensive background in sports involvement. As an undergraduate, he attended Calvin College where he was an all-conference athlete in two sports and won a DIII National Championship in basketball. He was voted as an All-American basketball player and two-time Academic All-American—including being named as a GTE/CoSIDA Academic Player of the Year from among all non-DI schools. He played professionally in Malta before graduate school. Professor Knoester still plays and follows sports, but mostly with a parenting or scholarly emphasis, now.

Data and Ongoing Research

After more than a year of intensive work in planning the survey project and then designing, testing, and preparing the survey instrument, the data collection efforts began in Fall of 2018 and ended in Spring of 2019. Thus, NSASS research is now beginning to be presented at academic conferences and submitted for potential publication. News and results are forthcoming.

Data was collected from 3,993 respondents from all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. About 20% of respondents also reported on a randomly chosen focal child ages 6-17 who lives with them. Compared to the U.S. population, respondents were disproportionately female, white, and Midwestern. Post-stratification weighting techniques are being used to approximate the characteristics of U.S. adults for descriptive purposes.

More than two dozen sports and society research projects, involving over twenty scholars from ten different institutions, are currently using the NSASS data. These projects include inquiries into:

Patterns in Youth and Adult Sports Participation

(Major Research Questions include: How are people involved in sports during childhood, throughout the life course, and across generations? What leads to different involvement levels? How is involvement linked to financial and time commitments?)

  • Patterns of sports participation in childhood
  • Patterns of sports participation in adulthood
  • Patterns and predictors of parenting commitments to youth sports
  • Youth sports expenses: Patterns, predictors, and inequalities
  • How social class shapes youth sports expenditures: A mixed methods approach
  • Parents' perceived values in sports participation: A mixed methods inquiry into why and how parents invest in youth sports
  • (Inter) generational changes in youth sports participation experiences
  • (Inter)generational changes in youth sports commitments by parents
  • Socioeconomic statuses, family structures, communities, and level of sports participation attainment

Sports Involvement and Health

(Major Research Questions include: How are sports experiences linked to health in childhood, adulthood, and over the life course? Why?)

  • Implications of sports participation patterns for subjective health, over the life course
  • Implications of sports participation patterns for mental health, over the life course
  • Implications of sports participation patterns for substance use, over the life course
  • Patterns of sports injuries and their links to sports participation experiences
  • Social class, healthy behaviors, and health outcomes in adulthood
  • Social class, healthy behaviors, and health outcomes among youths
  • Mistreatment experiences in sports: Trends, categories, and perceived effects

Sports Consumption and Fandom

(Major Research Questions include: How are sports watched and followed in childhood, adulthood, and over the life course? Who follows sports and why? How does it matter?

  • Patterns and predictors of females' sports consumption and fandom
  • Patterns and predictors of the consumption and support of female sports activities
  • Gender, sexuality, and sports fandom
  • Gender, sexuality, and disengagement from sports participation
  • Sports fans: Who are they? What do they do? How does it matter?

Public Opinions about Sports Interactions

(Major Research Questions include: What do people think about the costs and benefits of sports? What do sports reveal and encourage in terms of cultural values? What are public opinions about controversial sports-related topics? Why?

  • Patterns and predictors of public opinions about the cultural values celebrated in sports
  • Patterns and predictors of public opinions about the character and social capital benefits of sports participation
  • Patterns and predictors of public opinions about the social integration processes in sports
  • Patterns and predictors of public opinions about the health contributions and risks of sports
  • Patterns and predictors of public opinions about racial-ethnic differences in athletic performance
  • Patterns and predictors of public opinions about multiculturalism in sports
  • Public opinion beliefs about paying college athletes
  • Public opinion beliefs about athlete protests during the national anthem
  • Public opinion beliefs about sex testing in sports
  • Public opinion about transgender athletes and sex segregation in sports

We thank the NSASS respondents for their efforts and commitments in providing useful information to help in the study of sports and society issues!

FAQS

Click on the questions to read corresponding answers.

• What is the National Sports and Society Survey (NSASS)?

It is a survey being conducted at the Ohio State University to study sports involvement and its implications for other areas of life. Prof. Chris Knoester (knoester.1@osu.edu) is the principal investigator of the study. CHRR at The Ohio State University is managing the survey design and data collection. Funding for the project has been provided by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences through the Sports and Society Initiative. You can learn more about the survey by emailing: nsass@chrr.osu.edu or calling: 877-529-2979 for further details.

• What if I refuse to participate?

Taking part in this survey is completely voluntary. You may answer don’t know or refuse any questions that you do not want to answer. If you decide not to take part or refuse to answer some of the questions, it will not affect your current or future relationship with The Ohio State University. If you decide to take part, you are free to withdraw at any time.

• What is the American Population Panel?

The American Population Panel is a group of volunteer members who agree to participate in social science and health related studies. Members of the American Population Panel will be contacted to take part in social science and health related research. The time commitment varies with each survey.

Any individual 18 years or older living in the US can be a member of CHRR's American Population Panel. More information can be found at: americanpopulationpanel.org or chrr.osu.edu.

• Why should I participate in the NSASS?

How many times do you receive $$$ for your opinions and reports about your life experiences? Sharing your opinions and experiences will also provide valuable information to scholars who are trying to better understand human behavior and offer ideas about how to improve society.

• Do your surveys have a code of ethics? If so, what is in the code?

CHRR at The Ohio State University never sells or make public any personal information. Certain offices concerned with research at The Ohio State University may be asked to review your records if there is a problem. These are offices concerned with protecting your rights as a research participant. The people sponsoring the research may also have limited access to confidential data. The only information used for research is the answers to your questions.

• How I can learn about my rights and privacy?

Important organizations involved in protecting your privacy are: The Ohio State University Institutional Review Board or Office of Responsible Research Practices (1-800-678-6251) and CHRR at The Ohio State University (nsass@chrr.osu.edu or 877-529-2979).

• Do you survey all racial-ethnic groups?

Yes, everyone!

We survey anyone between the ages of 21 to 65 years living in the U.S. It doesn’t matter if you love sports, hate sports, or just don’t care that much about them one way or the other. This survey is designed to take the “temperature” or a “snapshot” of the U.S. To do that we need answers from all types of folks. Men, women, parents, athletes, non-athletes, and persons from every racial-ethnic group are all eligible—everyone can participate in the survey and receive the $$$ incentive.

Feel free to spread the word so that others can contribute to social science research and can benefit from the $$$ incentives, too.

• How are people selected for the survey?

Anyone can register for the American Population Panel and participate in the survey or go to www.nsass.org to know more about the survey. You can email nsass@chrr.osu.edu or call 877-529-2979 for further details about participation.

• How is the survey administered?

CHRR at The Ohio State University is overseeing the management of NSASS. The survey can be taken in a web form on a computer, laptop, tablet or cellphone. You can also schedule for a phone-interview with a trained interviewer if you prefer. We can even send you a paper copy of the survey! We want to make the process of taking the NSASS convenient for you.

• Can I take the NSASS on my cellphone?

Absolutely, NSASS is supported by Android and iOS.

• Can I take NSASS if I do not have a cellphone?

NSASS can be taken on any computer, laptop or tablet. It is supported by all web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

• Can I do an in-person survey?

Currently we offer scheduled phone interviews. You can email nsass@chrr.osu.edu or call 877-529-2979 to schedule a phone interview with a trained professional.

• Can I take the survey on a Mac computer, iPad, or iPhone?

Yes, NSASS can be taken using any web browser supported by macOS or iOS, such as Safari.

• How long is the survey?

It is a comprehensive survey that generally takes about one hour to complete.

• I am not too good with words, will I be able to understand the survey questions?

The survey design team at CHRR at The Ohio State University have ensured a simple and straightforward survey. However, if you feel you need assistance, please email at: nsass@chrr.osu.edu or call 877-529-2979 to schedule a phone interview with a trained professional at your convenience.

• Do you track an individual's information?

While your answers will be made available to researchers, your personal information will not be. A few folks can look at your personal information to do things like make sure the survey is completed and that you are a real person. However, none of the questions we ask involve information that would have to be disclosed by state law. Your personal information is never shared, sold or made public.

• What is the purpose of the survey?

The National Sports and Society Survey (NSASS) aims to study sports involvement and its implications. Please visit www.nsass.org for more information about the survey.

• Who is funding the NSASS?

Funding for the project has been provided by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences through The Ohio State University Sports and Society Initiative (SSI).

• Should I still take the survey if I do not like sports?

Yes, we are interested in all kinds of people: fans and non-fans, married and non-married, people with and without children as long as you are between 21 and 65 years old and living in the U.S.