The International Journal of Sport and Society
Relative Age Effects (RAE), Sport, Education, Leadership Development
Relative age effects (RAEs) have been widely studied in the contexts of education and sport over the past 25 years. The RAE phenomenon is concerned with identifying age (dis)advantages relative to other children within a pre-defined age group. While intended to promote equality and fairness through the maintenance of general developmental similarities (e.g., cognitive, physiological), age-based grouping policies common to most educational and sport development systems have had the unintended consequence of advantaging “relatively” older children, while disadvantaging those who are “relatively” younger within the same cohort. Differences in developmental outcomes as a result of relative age have been shown to persist throughout adulthood resulting in considerable long-term social, emotional, and economic benefits (or detriments). The purpose of this review paper is to introduce readers to the RAE phenomenon, explore its underlying causes, examine its short- and long-term discriminatory effects, and provide directions for future research in this area, particularly as they pertain to leadership development.
Dixon, Jess; Horton, Sean; and Weir, Patricia. (2011). Relative Age Effects: Implications for Leadership Development. The International Journal of Sport and Society, 2 (2).