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Sport and Wellbeing

Special issue call for papers from Sport, Business and Management

Guest Editors:

Associate Professor Kate Westberg, RMIT University, Australia
Associate Professor Sarah Jane Kelly, University of Queensland, Australia

Sport offers many and varied benefits that enhance the wellbeing of individuals and communities. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines human health in its broader sense in its 1948 constitution as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Overall, wellbeing in a sporting context encompasses psychosocial health, and there is mounting empirical evidence to suggest that sporting participation translates to stronger productivity and economic impact (e.g., Bailey et al., 2013).

Sport participation is associated with positive health outcomes that enhance physical wellbeing as well as facilitating the development of aspirational qualities such as team work, leadership, perseverance and the pursuit of excellence (Eime et al., 2013) and even restoration (Caddick and Smith, 2014).  Spectatorship and fandom offer entertainment, camaraderie and the shaping of identities (Stewart and Smith, 2010) and have been linked with happiness (Jang et al., 2017) and wellbeing more generally (Kim et al., 2017). Grassroots sport clubs and facilities have a critical role to play in improving public health and broader wellbeing outcomes within communities (Parnell et al., 2015). There is also mounting evidence suggesting a link between sports participation and academic performance in children (Lees and Hopkins, 2013). Sport also has a diplomatic role, uniting communities and nations in support of athletes and teams (Tomlinson and Young, 2006), fostering wellbeing on a wider collective level.

Yet, somewhat paradoxically, sport is also associated with a range of unhealthy products and risky consumption behaviours, particularly in relation to alcohol, gambling and fast food or other unhealthy food and beverages.  Further, the increasingly commercial and pressurized environment of the sport system has contributed to problematic and anti-social behaviour by athletes not only within the sport arena but also outside of it (Stewart and Smith, 2014). These problematic aspects of sport challenge the more positive role it can play in wellbeing and have been described as a wicked problem (Westberg et al., 2017).

This special issue seeks to explore the many and varied ways in which sport can impact on the wellbeing of individuals and communities, either positively or adversely. In line with the aims of Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal (SBM) this special issue aims to capture a coherent, high-quality body of work in sport, business and management. As such, this special issue welcomes a range of high-quality academic papers including conceptual and empirical, as well as case studies and critical analyses.

We welcome submissions in the following areas but are open to other topic areas related to the focus of the special issue:
•    The role of sport organizations and athletes in enacting social change.
•    Sponsorship, advertising and availability of unhealthy or risky products in the sport environment (recreational, elite and professional).
•    Fandom and wellbeing.
•    Sport participation and wellbeing.
•    Corruption and integrity issues in sport and their relationship to wellbeing.
•    Performance and image enhancing drugs in sport and wellbeing.
•    Unique wellbeing issues associated with women in sport.
•    Wellbeing issues, such as mental health, in relation to athletes and coaches at the recreational, elite and professional level.

Key Deadlines:

•    29 June 2018 – Abstract (250 words, author & affiliations) submission to:
Associate Professor Kate Westberg: [email protected]

While abstracts are not compulsory and all manuscripts submitted by the October 27 deadline will be considered, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that a brief (250 word) abstract be submitted to the guest editors by June 29, 2018 to ensure that the planned submission meets the special issue objectives.

Authors will receive notification of abstract submission and be provided with brief feedback which will assist in progressing their full submission.

•    27 October 2018 – Full article submission online via the author guidelines found here:

•    Early-Mid 2019– Publication of Special Issue

Guest Editor Details:

Please do not hesitate to contact the guest editors if you have any questions or ideas you would like to discuss:
Associate Professor Kate Westberg, RMIT University, Australia: [email protected]
Associate Professor Sarah Jane Kelly, University of Queensland, Australia: [email protected]


Bailey, R., Hillman, C., Arent, S., and Petitpas, A. (2013), “Physical activity: An underestimated investment in human capital?” Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 289-308.
Caddick, N., and Smith, B. (2014), “The impact of sport and physical activity on the well-being of combat veterans: A systematic review,” Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 9-18.
Eime, R.M., Young, J.A., Harvey, J.T., Charity, M.J. and Payne, W.R. (2013), “A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for adults: Informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport”, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Vol. 10, pp. 135.
Jang, W., Ko, Y.J., Wann, D. and Kim, D. (2017), “Does spectatorship increase happiness? The energy perspective,” Journal of Sport Management, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 333-344.
Kim, J., Kim, Y, and Kim D. (2017), “Improving well-being through hedonic, eudaimonic, and social needs fulfilment in sports media consumption,” Sport Management Review, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 309-321.
Lees, C., and Hopkins, J. (2013), “Effect of aerobic exercise on cognition, academic achievement, and psychosocial function in children: A systematic review of randomized control trials,” Preventing Chronic Disease, Vol. 10.
Parnell, D., Curran, K. and Philpott, M. (2017), “Healthy Stadia: An insight from policy to practice,” Sport in Society, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 181-186.
Smith, A.C.T. and Stewart, B. (2010), “The special features of sport: A critical revisit”, Sport Management Review, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 1-13.
Stewart, B. and Smith, A. (2014), Rethinking Drug Use in Sport: Why the War on Drugs in Sport Will Never be Won, Routledge, U.K.
Tomlinson, A. and Young, C. (2006), National Identity and Sports Events, SUNY Press, Albany.
Westberg, K., Stavros, C., Smith, A.C.T., Newton, J., Lindsay, S., Kelly, S.J., Beus, S. and Adair, D. (2017), “Exploring the wicked problem of athlete and consumer vulnerability in sport,” Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 94-112.