Team sport helps protect against mental health difficulties
Previous research has consistently suggested that youth participation in organized sports might help protect against mental health difficulties. However, some studies have linked youth sports participation to worsen mental health, so more detailed research is needed to determine which approaches to sports might be most beneficial.
To combat this, a large-scale study of children and adolescents has found that participation in a team sport is associated with fewer mental health difficulties, but that kids who are exclusively involved in an individual sport-such as tennis or wrestling-may face greater mental health difficulties than kids who do no sports at all. these findings are published in the PLOS ONE journal.
The study analyzed 11,235 kids aged 9 to 13 on their sports habits and mental health. The researchers looked for any associations between the mental health data and the kids' sports habits, while also accounting for other factors that might impact mental health, such as household income and overall physical activity.
The analysis showed that kids involved in team sports were less likely to have signs of anxiety, depression, withdrawal, social problems, and attention problems.
The researchers also expected individual sports to be associated with fewer mental health difficulties, even if to a lesser extent than for team sports. However, they instead found that children who exclusively played individual sports tended to have greater mental health difficulties than those who did not play sports at all.
Overall, these findings add to a growing body of evidence that playing team sports is positively associated with mental health for children and adolescents.
Dr. Nandita Mohan
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)