Positive developmental experiences through sports participation for adolescent girls
This study examined the predictors, mediators, and moderators of positive youth development; specifically, physical self-concept, global esteem, academic achievement, and alcohol consumption, among adolescent female athletes in New York City. The study used a mixed quantitative and qualitative design on a sample of 260 racially and ethnically diverse female adolescent athletes from public and private high schools. Total time in sports was significantly associated with higher physical self-concept, global esteem, and academic achievement. A higher level in sport was associated with increased physical self-concept, global esteem, academic achievement, athlete relationships, initiative, emotional regulation, and social-moral reasoning. Athletes also described how the physical nature of sports helped improve their physique, sports ability, and body image. These positive changes likely accounted for increased physical self-concept and global esteem. Many athletes revealed that through sports, they learned how to be responsible, mature, and gain organizational skills. These lessons helped increased academic achievement through sports. Psychosocial aspects of sports participation did not mediate sports participation and developmental outcomes. Psychosocial relationships (athlete relationships, coach-athlete relationships) were a common theme in athlete testimonies, showing that supportive sports relationships have a key role in adolescent development among females. Social-moral reasoning moderated total time in target sport and global esteem; high social-moral reasoning was associated with high global esteem, while low social-moral reasoning was associated with high global esteem only when time in sports was high. Rates of alcohol consumption and other risk behaviors among the sample were lower than averages across the country among female adolescents. However, more time in sports was marginally associated with increased alcohol consumption; additionally, team sports participation was also marginally associated with increased alcohol consumption. Social-moral reasoning moderated psychosocial aspects of sports and alcohol consumption; low social-moral reasoning and high psychosocial aspects were associated with high alcohol consumption. Risk behaviors may be decreased if they conflict with an athlete identity or prevent an athlete from doing well in her sport. Findings are discussed in terms of optimizing developmental skills, relationships, and experiences through sports for adolescent girls.
Modi, Kamla D, "Positive developmental experiences through sports participation for adolescent girls" (2010). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3438470.