|Title||Examining the relationship between sports participation and youth developmental outcomes for socially vulnerable youth|
|Author(s)||Super, Sabina; Hermens, Niels; Verkooijen, Kirsten; Koelen, Maria|
|Source||BMC Public Health 18 (2018). - ISSN 1471-2458|
Health and Society
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Life prospects - Positive youth development - Self-regulation skills - Sense of coherence - Socially vulnerable youth - Sport|
Background: Research has shown that sports participation is positively related to youth developmental outcomes, but it is still unknown if sports participation relates to these outcomes among socially vulnerable youth. Hence, this research aimed to examine the relationship between sports participation and youth developmental outcomes (i.e., problem behaviour, pro-social behaviour, school performance, subjective health, well-being, self-regulation skills, and sense of coherence) for socially vulnerable youth. In addition, the stability of the relationship between sports participation and the youth developmental outcomes were investigated with a six-month interval. Methods: Two identical questionnaires were administered with a six-month interval by youth professionals from four youth organisations, measuring the youth developmental outcomes and sports participation rates of socially vulnerable youth. In total, 283 socially vulnerable youths (average 14.68 years old) participated at baseline and 187 youths after six months. Results: The results showed that sports participation was positively related to pro-social behaviour, subjective health, well-being, and sense of coherence at both measurements. We found no evidence for the relationship between sports participation and problem behaviour and the self-regulatory skills. In addition, sports participation was only positively related to school performance at the first, but not at the second, measurement. Conclusions: The results of this study show that there are positive relationships between sports participation and several youth developmental outcomes. Based on the current data no conclusions can be drawn about the causal relationship between sports participation and youth developmental outcomes. Given the focus of policymakers and health professionals on sport as a means to achieve wider social and educational outcomes for young people, including in the Netherlands, further research is needed to shed light on the relationship between sports participation and youth developmental outcomes for socially vulnerable youth, with a special focus on this group's heterogeneity. Trial registration: Trialregister.nl NTR4621 Date of Registration: 2 June 2014 (retrospectively registered).