Academic Literature

Are All Sport Activities Equal? A Systematic Review of How Youth Psychosocial Experiences Vary Across Differing Sport Activities

2016
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Are All Sport Activities Equal? A Systematic Review of How Youth Psychosocial Experiences Vary Across Differing Sport Activities

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This study analyzes models of sport development that often assume a young athletes’ psychosocial experiences differ as a result of seemingly minor variations in how their sport activities are designed (eg, participating in team or individual sport; sampling many sports or specializing at an early age). This review was conducted to systematically search sport literature and explore how the design of sport activities relates to psychosocial outcomes. 35 studies were located and were classified within three categories: (1) sport types, (2) sport settings, and (3) individual patterns of sport involvement. These studies represented a wide range of scores when assessed for risk of bias and involved an array of psychosocial constructs, with the most prevalent investigations predicting outcomes such as youth development, self-esteem and depression by comparing (1) team or individual sport participants and (2) youth with varying amounts of sport involvement. As variations in sport activities impact youth sport experiences, it is vital for researchers to carefully describe and study these factors, while practitioners may use the current findings when designing youth sport programmes.

Evans, M. B., Allan, V., Erickson, K., Martin, L. J., Budziszewski, R., & Côte, J. (2016). Are all sport activities equal? A systematic review of how youth psychosocial experiences vary across differing sport activities. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51, 169-176.

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