Effect of Sports Participation on Social Development in Children Ages 6-14


  • Joy Chowdhury




Sports have been proven to help promote physical health and prevent rising conditions such as obesity in children. However, not much is known about the social development that is associated with exposure to sports from an early age. Understanding the relationship between sports and social health can help determine measures to promote prosocial behaviour. The databases that were used in this review include Web of Science, OVID Medline(R), and Pubmed. After the inclusion and exclusion process, we were left with 24 studies to review. The results indicate that children that engage in sports are more likely to be confident and demonstrate higher degrees of assertiveness. Furthermore, studies show that children engaging in both team and individual sports show higher degrees of academic and social competence. Children that engage in sports from an early age tend to show more respect towards authority. According to the social learning theory, through imitation, children can learn social norms such as fair play, healthy competition, and the values of collaboration. Children not engaging in sports are more likely to display depressive symptoms that may inhibit them from engaging socially with their environment. Moreover, social anxiety is more common in those that do not participate in sports since exercise is a known anxiolytic due to its properties of releasing endorphins and reducing the body’s stress hormones. The results suggest that more opportunities should be made for children to engage in sports, not only for physical development, but also for social development.