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    Sports Participation in Young Boys Reduces Depression and Anxiety Later



    Summary: Young boys who play sports are less likely to develop depression, anxiety, and emotional distress later in childhood, researchers say. Additionally, boys who experience less emotional distress during middle childhood are more likely to be physically active during adolescence.

    Source: Journal of Development and Behavioural Pediatrics.

    Boys who take part in sports in early childhood are less likely to experience later depressive and anxiety symptoms, known as emotional distress during middle childhood, according to a new study led by Marie-Josée Harbec, Psychoeducator in Université de Montréal.

    The study also highlights that boys who experience little emotional distress in middle childhood are also more likely to be more physically active in early adolescence.

    In the study, the researchers wanted to understand the long-term and reciprocal relationship in school-aged children between participation in sports and depressive and anxiety symptoms.

    The researchers assessed the sporting and physical activity habits reported by the kids at ages 5 and 12 years, as well by their parents, and also collected information on symptoms of emotional distress from ages 6 to 10 years that were informed by the kids’ teachers.

    The researchers of this study gathered and analysed data collaborating with researchers at McGill University and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.

    The researchers examined 690 boys and 748 girls, about their reports on past-year participation in sport at age 5 and their weekly level of physical activity at age 12; emotional-distress symptoms which were observed by school teachers from ages 6 to 10. The data were arranged by sex to look for any considerable link between physical activity and emotional distress.

    The study observed that boys who participate in sport early in childhood definitely benefit from physical activities, as it help them to learn and develop life skills such as engaging in teamwork, practicing self-control, taking initiative and build supportive relationships with their peers, adult coaches and instructors. These are carried along help out in later part of life.

    In case of girls, depression and anxiety risks and protective factors work in a different manner. Girls are more likely than boys to reveal their emotional distress and seek help from family, friends or health providers, and psychological support from these social ties protects them better.

    Published: Journal of Development and Behavioural Pediatrics

    Contact: Marie-Josée Harbec, Psycho educator, University of Montreal.

    Details: Image source IStock


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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