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The Psychosocial Benefits of Participation in Sport for Children and Youth

Key Message

Team sport is associated with improved health outcomes compared to individual physical activities, due to the social nature of the participation.

Source

Eime, Rochelle M et al. (2013). A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 10:98, 21 pp. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-98

Purpose

There are specific guidelines regarding the level of physical activity (PA) required to provide health benefits. However, the research underpinning these PA guidelines does not address the element of social health. Furthermore, there is insufficient evidence about the levels or types of PA associated specifically with psychological health. This paper first presents the results of a systematic review of the psychological and social health benefits of participation in sport by children and adolescents. Secondly, the information arising from the systematic review has been used to develop a conceptual model.

Evidence

A total of 3668 publications were initially identified, of which 30 met the selection criteria. There were many different psychological and social health benefits reported, with the most commonly being improved self-esteem, social interaction followed by fewer depressive symptoms. Sport may be associated with improved psychosocial health above and beyond improvements attributable to participation in PA.

Specifically, team sport seems to be associated with improved health outcomes compared to individual activities, due to the social nature of the participation.

A conceptual model, Health through Sport, is proposed. The model depicts the relationship between psychological, psychosocial and social health domains, and their positive associations with sport participation, as reported in the literature.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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