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This article examines patterns of adjustment among urban middle-school children as a function of involvement in organized team sports. Four hundred twenty-three seventh-grade students (216 boys and 207 girls) reported on their involvement in sport, self-esteem, delinquent activity, and drug use during the year preceding the survey. Physical Education teachers rated social competence, shyness/withdrawal, and disinhibition/aggression. Compared with noninvolved children, sport-involved youth reported higher self-esteem and were rated by teachers as more socially competent and less shy and withdrawn. Sport-involved youth, including those in contact sports, were not rated as more aggressive than noninvolved children. And though sport-involved youth reported a slightly broader range of delinquent activities than noninvolved youth, sport-involved boys were actually less likely than noninvolved boys to have experimented with marijuana.
McHale is with the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, Family Study Center, St. Petersburg, FL. Vinden is with the Hiatt School of Psychology, Clark University, Worcester, MA. Bush is with Strong Ties, The University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Richer is with the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Shaw is with the Pediatric Psychopharmacology Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, Cambridge, MA. Smith is with Tufts University, Medford, MA.