DC – As schools around the country look for ways to reduce violence and
bullying, they may want to consider encouraging students to participate in team
sports, according to a study to be presented Sunday, May 5, at the Pediatric
Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
analyzed data from the 2011 North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey
see if athletic participation was associated with violence-related behaviors,
including fighting, carrying a weapon and being bullied. A representative
sample of 1,820 high school students in the state completed the survey, which also
asked adolescents whether they played any school-sponsored team sports (e.g., football)
or individual sports (e.g. track).
showed that half of the students ages 14-18 years reported playing a
school-sponsored sport: 25 percent were on a team, 9 percent participated in an
individual sport, and 17 percent played both individual and team sports.
who played individual or team sports were less likely to report having been in
a physical fight in the past year than girls who didn’t participate in sports
(14 percent vs. 22 percent). Female athletes also were less likely carry a weapon
in the past 30 days than non-athletes (6 percent vs. 11 percent).
there was no difference in reported physical fighting in the past year or
weapon carrying in the past 30 days between boys who played sports and those
who did not. Approximately 32 percent of boys reported physical fighting, and 36
percent reported carrying weapons in the past 30 days.
participation may prevent involvement in violence-related activities among
girls but not among boys because aggression and violence generally might be
more accepted in boys’ high school sports,” said senior author Tamera
Coyne-Beasley, MD, MPH, FSAHM, FAAP, professor of pediatrics and internal
medicine at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
school administrators and parents should be aware that students who participate
in sports might still be at risk for fighting and carrying weapons, added
presenting author Robert W. Turner, PhD, research associate and Carolina postdoctoral
fellow for faculty diversity at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
results also indicated that boys who played team sports were less likely to
report being bullied than boys who played individual sports.
we don’t know if boys who play team sports are less likely to be the
perpetrators of bullying, we know that they are less likely to be bullied,” Dr.
Coyne-Beasley noted. “Perhaps creating team-like environments among students
such that they may feel part of a group or community could lead to less
the abstract, “2011 North Carolina YRBS: Athletic Participation, Violence, and
Bullying” go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS13L1_2195.11.
Academic Societies (PAS) are four individual pediatric organizations that
co-sponsor the PAS Annual Meeting – the American Pediatric Society, the Society
for Pediatric Research, the Academic Pediatric Association, and the American
Academy of Pediatrics. Members of these organizations are pediatricians and
other health care providers who are practicing in the research, academic and
clinical arenas. The four sponsoring organizations are leaders in the
advancement of pediatric research and child advocacy within pediatrics, and all
share a common mission of fostering the health and well-being of children
For more information, visit www.pas-meeting.org. Follow news of the PAS meeting on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PedAcadSoc.