Can sports mitigate the effects of depression and aggression on peer rejection?
Sport, mental health, and peer rejection
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofJournal of applied developmental psychology ; vol. 50, p. 26-35
This study examined whether sports participation moderates the longitudinal link of depressive and aggressive symptoms with increased peer rejection. The sample consisted of 291 adolescents (50.5% girls), assessed at ages 12 and 13 years. Depressive and aggressive symptoms as well as peer rejection were assessed through peer nominations, whereas participation in team and individual sports was assessed via adolescents' self-reports. Regression analyses revealed that boys – but not girls – who displayed high levels of depressive symptoms experienced an increase in peer rejection. However, participation in team sports mitigated the association between depressive symptoms and increased peer rejection in boys, whereas participation in individual sports exacerbated that same association. Although aggressive symptoms were also associated with an increase in peer rejection for boys and girls, sports participation did not moderate this link. These results support the usefulness especially of team sports as part of prevention activities for vulnerable youth.