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Participation in Organized Sport and Self-Esteem Across Adolescence: The Mediating Role of Perceived Sport Competence

Stefan Wagnsson, Magnus Lindwall, and Henrik Gustafsson

The purpose of the study was to test longitudinal (2 years across three occasions) associations between sport participation (SP) and self-esteem (SE) across adolescence (10–18 years), addressing the mediating role of perceived sport competence (PSC) from a developmental perspective. Three waves of data were collected from three age cohorts (10–12, 13–15, and 16–18 years) of school-aged youth (N = 1358). The results demonstrate that SP and SE are related across time and that PSC has an important mediating role in this relationship, both from a skill development and a self-enhancement perspective. In the skill development model, the mediating role of PSC was significantly stronger in the youngest cohort whereas the effect of PSC on subsequent SP in the self-enhancement model was significantly stronger in the 13–15 age group compared with the youngest age group.