5 years ago

Youth sports and physical activity: The relationship between perceptions of childhood sport experience and adult exercise behavior

Participation in organized youth sports has been shown to positively correlate with increased levels of exercise in adulthood. However, there is limited research to suggest why youth sports participation is related to increased physical activity as an adult. One possible explanation is that positive youth sport experiences lead youth to be more positively inclined to engage in physical activity as adults. Research into the positive youth development aspect of organized sports provides the framework for the current investigation. Methods Adult participants (N = 234, M age = 35.35) were asked to retrospectively assess their youth sports experiences using the “Four C's” (i.e., competence, confidence, connectedness, character) framework of positive youth development in sport. These assessments were then compared to current physical activity levels and related variables found in the Health Action Process Approach model (HAPA; Schwarzer, 2008). Results Bivariate correlations revealed statistically significant and moderate correlations among competence, confidence, and connectedness and all of the HAPA variables including physical activity levels. Further, a MANCOVA analysis revealed that when participants were sub-divided into “non-intenders,” “intenders,” and “actors” using a validated staging algorithm, a general linear trend emerged for competence, confidence, and connectedness such that “non-intenders” rated these constructs the lowest and “actors” rated them the highest. Conclusion These findings provide preliminary evidence that the relationship between participation in organized youth sports and adulthood levels of exercise could be contingent on how positively that experience is perceived.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1469029217302406

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