Adolescents today are faced with an array of risk factors including sexual activity and drug and alcohol use, as well as environmental factors that are beyond their control, such as parental divorce and poverty. The attribute of resilience is an extremely desirable quality that, if developed, has the capacity to reduce the effect of many of these risk factors that many adolescents are exposed to. Sport participation is a potential intervention that a large portion of adolescents can have access to through school and community programs that could potentially foster resilience. The current causal-comparative, non-experimental study sought to add to the limited existing research by examining resilience levels of adolescents who participate in sports compared to resilience levels of their peers who do not participate in sports. The Social Emotional Assets and Resiliency Scale - Parent form was used to calculate resilience levels of the students in the study sample. Participants (n = 276) reported that the overall mean resilience score of those youth who had participated on a sports team within the last year was significantly higher than the overall mean resilience score of those youth who had not. There was no significant difference in resilience ratings of those who played school-sponsored sports versus city/recreational sports. There was also a small, statistically significant, positive correlation between the number of sports played and resilience ratings. Implications and limitations of this study are included. Parents and educators are encouraged to offer a variety of opportunities for youth to participate in activities aligned with student interests. In budgeting and planning curricular and extracurricular activities to enrich students' social experiences, schools and communities must consider the importance of sports activities in strengthening youth resilience.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





resilience, children, sport, risk factors, athletic activity