Re-examining the relationship between interscholastic sport participation and delinquency: Type of sport matters

Jan Sokol-Katz, Margaret S. Kelley, Lorrie Basinger-Fleischman, Jomills H Braddock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


For years it has been commonly held by the public and by policy makers that youth, sport participation can serve as an agent of social control. At the school level, this relationship has been examined in terms of numerous psychosocial and behavioral outcomes. Research on one such outcome - delinquency - has resulted in mixed findings. To better understand this association and perhaps arrive at more conclusive findings, the present study utilizes nationally representative data (NELS: 88) to conduct a more in-depth analysis of the relationship between school sport participation and delinquency. We present findings from a systematic analysis of engagement in delinquency that 1) controls for race, gender, and SES, 2) takes into account important factors representing components of Hirschi’s (1969) social control theory found both inherent in sport participation and external to it, and 3) compares different delinquency outcomes for different types of sport. Results confirm the complexity of the sports - delinquency relationship, as both the direct and mediating effects of social control vary by type of sport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-192
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Focus
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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