CC-0

Teens in sports teams are mentally healthier adults

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Taking part in team sports as a teen may lead to better mental health outcomes as an adult for kids who have been through distressing experiences such as physical or sexual abuse, emotional neglect, parental alcohol misuse, parental incarceration or living with a single parent, according to US researchers. They looked at around 9,700 people, around half of whom reported at least one distressing experience during childhood. They say playing team sports as a teen was associated with a lower likelihood of a diagnosis of depression and anxiety in young adulthood for both men and women. However, this type of study cannot show that team sport participation actually causes improved outcomes in adulthood, just that an association exists.

Journal/conference: JAMA Pediatrics

DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1212

Organisation/s: University of California, USA

Funder: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center via the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program.

Media Release

From: JAMA

Participation in team sports as an adolescent was associated with a higher likelihood of some better adult mental health outcomes among individuals with adverse childhood experiences (ACES). This observational study included nearly 9,700 individuals with data on their exposure to ACEs, including physical and sexual abuse, emotional neglect, parental alcohol misuse, parental incarceration and living with a single parent. About 49 percent of the individuals reported exposure to one ACE and about 21 percent reported two or more ACEs. Team sports participation during adolescence was associated with a lower likelihood of a diagnosis of depression and anxiety in young adulthood but not associated at a statistically significant level with current depressive symptoms after accounting for other mitigating factors. The association between team sports and better mental health wasn’t significantly different for males and females. The study cannot determine causality and social determinants of health are hard to isolate. Team sports may help to mitigate the effects of ACEs but other factors may too. The authors suggest teams sports may help to build resilience so policymakers and child health advocates may want to advocate for these programs to be accessible and equitable.

Attachments:

  • JAMA
    Web page
    The URL will go live after the embargo ends

News for:

International

Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.