Effects of martial arts and combat sports training on anger and aggression: A systematic review
Martial Arts and combat sports (MA&CS) are the subject of a dispute. On the one hand, they have been considered an ideal means to acquire emotional self-control. On the other hand, they have been considered aggressive practices which may promote violent behaviors. The current systematic review aims to analyze the evidence of the effects of MA&CS participation in anger and aggression, and the quality of this evidence. The review was conducted according to the PRISMA-P protocol. The studied variables were study type and aims, sample, interventions and procedures, measurements and outcomes. Nine studies (three cohort studies and six randomized controlled trials) were selected for inclusion. The following results should be viewed with much caution, as the volume of studies and the methodological quality of most of them is not optimal. Training in traditional martial arts seems to be an effective means to lower levels of anger and aggression. Regarding the age of subjects, there is a predisposition to reduce anger in the adult population. In addition, young subjects with violent or behavioral problems show a positive response to working with martial arts. However, the available evidence, overall, shows no relationship between MA&CS practice and anger and aggression levels.
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