An Investigation of the Youth Development Effects of a School-based Multi-sport Initiative for First-year Boys,

By Úna Moynihan and Tim McMahon.

Published by The Sport Collection

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The research evaluated the psychosocial and academic impact of an early-morning, multi-sports programme on students in their first year of second-level education. In addition, it interrogated the use of sport/physical activity as a means of enhancing the holistic development of students in a school setting. Forty-four boys aged 12 and 13 participated in an early-morning, twenty-week programme, four days per week. The programme design was guided by the principles of positive youth development. Pre- and post-intervention measures of resilience, connectedness, and self-determination were taken. Post-intervention measures of student attendance and end-of-year academic results were also investigated. A focus group was conducted with a subset of programme participants (N=8) to elucidate the findings of the survey. The rate of increase in resilience and self-determination was significantly higher for those attending more than 70% of sessions (N=21) when compared with the control group (N=59) and those who attended less than 70% (N=23). There was a correlation between attendance and end-of-year exam results (r=.494, p<.05). This implies that a well-designed, recreational, multi-sports programme, delivered by trained coaches in a school setting, can enhance the psychosocial and academic development of boys.

Keywords: Positive Youth Development, School Sport, Ireland

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, November 2014, pp.33-45. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 349.571KB).

Ms. Úna Moynihan

Lecturer, Health and Leisure Department, Institute of Technology, Tralee, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland

Tim McMahon

Teacher, Christian Brothers Secondary School, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland