This study sought to examine whether athletes are more violent, delinquent, or both than their nonathlete classmates. Survey data from 2,436 high school students indicated no significant differences for violent or delinquent behaviors between athletes and nonathletes. However, analysis of the data by the type of sport indicated noncontact sport athletes were less likely to engage in various violent and delinquent behaviors than were contact sport athletes and nonathletes. These relationships were found for both males and females. Noncontact sports may provide some protective effect with regards to violence and delinquency that contact sports do not.
David S. Levin is with the Fulton County Health Department, 99 Butler St. SE, Atlanta, GA 30303. Edward A. Smith is with the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. Linda L. Caldwell is with the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. Jennifer Kimbrough is with Morehead Memorial Hospital, 117 East Kings Hwy., Eden, NC 27288.