A long-term study among 11,235 kids in the US, between the ages of 9 and 13, has found those kids who play individual sports are more likely to face mental health challenges.
While a team sport like baseball or soccer is linked to fewer mental health issues, kids who only play individual sports like tennis or wrestling may be more likely to experience mental health issues than kids who don’t participate in any sports at all, according to a large-scale study of American children and adolescents.
Matt Hoffmann of CSU, USA, and colleagues publish their findings in PLOS ONE today.
Previous research has repeatedly demonstrated that youth involvement in organized sports may help prevent them from mental health problems. However, some studies have connected youth sports engagement to poor mental health, necessitating additional in-depth research to establish which sports practices are most beneficial.
Research by Hoffmann and colleagues examined the sports and mental health habits of 11,235 children aged 9 to 13 in order to offer new light on the issue. The Child Behavior Checklist was used by parents and guardians to provide information on their children’s mental health. While taking into consideration other factors that could affect mental health, such as home income and total physical activity, the researchers looked for any correlations between the children’s mental health data and their sports activities.
The study found that youngsters who participated in team sports were less likely to exhibit signs of anxiety, depression, withdrawal, social issues, and attention deficit disorder than those who did not participate.
Individual sports were also expected to be related to fewer mental health issues, albeit to a lower extent than team sports. Instead, they discovered that children who only practised specific sports had worse mental health issues than those who did not play any sports at all. Nonetheless, engagement in both team and individual sports was linked to a lower risk of rule-breaking behavior in female children than non-sports participation.
Overall, these findings contribute to a growing body of data indicating team sports are beneficial to children’s and teenagers’ mental health. The authors recommend that more study is needed to elucidate the association they discovered between individual sports and worsening mental health problems, as well as longitudinal data to look into any causal linkages between sports engagement and mental health.
“Children and adolescents who played exclusively team sports, like basketball or soccer, had fewer mental health difficulties than those who did not participate in any organized sports,” the authors say.
“However, to our surprise, youth who participated in only individual sports, such as gymnastics or tennis, had more mental health difficulties compared to those who did not participate in organized sports.”
Image Credit: Getty
You were reading: New Study Shakes Idea That Playing Sports Is Better For Kids’ Health