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Social anxiety is a common psychological complaint that can have a significant and long-term negative impact on a child’s social and cognitive development. In the current study, the relationship between sport participation and social anxiety symptoms was investigated. Swiss primary school children (N =201), parents, and teachers provided information about the children’s social anxiety symptoms, classroom behavior, and sport involvement. Gender differences were observed on social anxiety scores, where girls tended to report higher social anxiety symptoms, as well as on sport activity, where boys engaged in more sport involvement. MANCOVAs with gender as covariant showed no differences in social anxiety symptoms between children involved in an extracurricular sport and those not engaged in sport participation. Nevertheless, children engaged in team sports displayed fewer physical social anxiety symptoms than children involved in individual sports.
The authors are with the Institute of Sport Science at the University of Berne, Switzerland.