Examining participation in school sports and patterns of delinquency using the national longitudinal study of adolescent health

Margaret S. Kelley, Jan Sokol-Katz

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10 Scopus citations

Abstract

This project seeks to identify what factors can account for patterns of delinquency, with special attention given to the role of organized sports. We used The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a school-based sample of adolescents collected for the purpose of measuring the impact of social environment on adolescent health and social behaviors. The framework for this study rests on the social bond theory of delinquent behavior and social psychology of sports research. We hypothesize that organized sports participation, as a measure of involvement, mitigates youthful delinquent outcomes, as do attachment to parents and friends. Our findings indicate that social bond theory is not sufficient to explain the relationship between sports and delinquency, and social psychological approaches provide some context for understanding outcomes and conceptualizing sport as a complex domain for both exerting and experiencing social control. Although some involvement with sports does not produce an increase in delinquency, being a highly involved athlete is generally associated with higher levels of delinquency In important ways, family attachment buffers the relationship. These results have important policy implications for schools and family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-101
Number of pages21
JournalSociological Focus
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)

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