*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
The transition to high school is often one of the most difficult changes for youth to make. Unfamiliar peer groups, increased class sizes, exposure to drugs and alcohol and mental health disorders all contribute to high levels of stress and unsafe behaviors among adolescents. A new study from BYU researchers reveals how students can prepare for these challenges by developing levels of resilience through participation in youth sports.
Results of the study, published this week, provide evidence that adolescents who participate in sports have significantly higher levels of parent-reported resilience than adolescents who don’t participate. This means encouraging students to participate in sports, whether high school or recreational, could help them face challenges now and in the future.
Researchers’ findings also show that adolescent sports participants display significantly higher levels of self-regulation, empathy and social competence than nonparticipants, traits that contributed to increased resilience.
For the study, researchers surveyed the parents of 276 high school students, 214 of which participated in sports and 62 did not. Survey questions asked parents about their students’ participation in sports and levels of resilience, social competence, and empathy.
Researchers also found a positive correlation between the number of sports played and increased resilience levels, meaning that students may benefit more from playing three or four sports, rather than specializing in just one.