Time Spent in Sports and Adolescent Problem Behaviors: A Longitudinal Analysis of Directions of Association

Adam C. Sheppard, Joseph L. Mahoney

Abstract


This longitudinal study analyzed the direction of the association between sports participation and problem behavior. Participants were a nationally representative sample of 1,692 adolescents (ages 11-19). Results showed that, beyond baseline measures of problem behaviors, time in sports (Wave I) was negatively associated with internalizing behaviors (Wave II). However, there was not a significant relation between time in sports and externalizing behavior. In addition to analyzing the relation between previous time in sports and subsequent problem behaviors, previous problem behaviors were used to predict subsequent time spent in sport. Results showed that previous internalizing behavior (Wave I) was negatively associated with time in sports (Wave II), but only for females. Externalizing behavior was not related to subsequent time spent in sport.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2012.132

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