Characteristics of sports participation and psychosocial health in children: Results of a cross-sectional study

Janet Moeijes*, Jooske T Van Busschbach, Krista L Lockhart, Ruud J Bosscher, Jos W R Twisk

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)
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    Several studies suggest that sports participation is beneficial for psychosocial health. There is, however, only a limited number of studies about the relationship of specific characteristics of sports participation with psychosocial health. The present study investigated associations between characteristics of sports participation and three aspects of psychosocial health, i.e. internalising problems, externalising problems and prosocial behaviour. The examined characteristics of sports participation pertained to individual versus team sports, indoor versus outdoor sports, involvement in competition or not, and contact sports versus non-contact sports. Cross-sectional data were collected from 1768 Dutch children aged 10-12 years who were member of a sports club. These children completed the Movement and Sports Monitor Questionnaire Youth aged 8-12 years (MSMQ) and the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Linear multilevel analyses and logistic generalised estimating equation were conducted. Children participating in team sports, outdoor sports, or competition showed fewer internalising problems than children engaged in individual sports, indoor sports, or only training. The associations with internalising problems were stronger for boys than for girls. Children participating in non-contact sports showed fewer externalising problems than children performing non-contact sports as well as contact sports. Children practising indoor sports or non-contact sports showed better prosocial behaviour than children doing outdoor or contact sports. In conclusion, the form of sports participation seemed to matter highly with respect to internalising problems, especially for boys, and, to a lesser extent, with respect to externalising problems and prosocial behaviour. This offers starting points for developing tailor-made sports programmes for children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)365-374
    Number of pages10
    JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
    Issue number3
    Early online date17-Aug-2018
    Publication statusPublished - 16-Mar-2019


    • Team sports
    • outdoor sports
    • contact sports
    • internalising problems
    • externalising problems
    • prosocial behaviour


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