Sports Participation and Delinquent Peer Associations: Implications for Individual Behavior among Minority Girls

By Matthew J. Taylor, Tara L. Shoemaker, Desiree Z. Welch and Maurice Endsley Jr..

Published by The Sport Collection

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The extant research has revealed inconsistent findings concerning the efficacy of the sport-as-deterrent assertion, and has simultaneously overlooked the impact of sport on the lives of minority adolescent girls. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of sport on associations with delinquent peers and individual delinquent behaviors among African American (Black), Hispanic, and European American (White) adolescent girls. Level of sport participation, peer delinquency, and individual delinquency, conceptualized as vandalism (e.g., indirect), verbal threats (i.e., verbal), physical altercations (e.g., physical), and alcohol use were assessed via anonymous self-report. Although sports participants reported lower levels of individual delinquency, they also reported more peer delinquency. Path analysis results suggest that sport was negatively related to the indirect, threat-related, and physical subtypes of individual delinquency for all racial/ethnic groups. However, sports participation was significantly related to alcohol use only for European Americans. Overall results suggest that the deterrent properties of sport may differ between racial/ethnic group and type of delinquent behavior. Furthermore, study evidence suggests that some athletes may associate with delinquent peers, yet do not engage in a similar set of behaviors.

Keywords: Sports Participation, Delinquency, Minority, Girls, Females, Adolescent

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.147-160. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 703.143KB).

Dr. Matthew J. Taylor

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Dr. Matthew Taylor is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His research interests fall under the broad category of minority mental health and multicultural psychology. More specifically, part of this work has focused on substance use and abuse and related problems among minority populations. Individual variables, such as self-efficacy and self-esteem, have been examined, in addition to other risk and resiliency factors, such as the impact of sport on minority youth substance use and delinquency.

Tara L. Shoemaker

Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Desiree Z. Welch

Research Assistant, Center for Trauma Recovery, Multicultural Psychology Research Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Maurice Endsley Jr.

Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.