The practice of high school sport is, in large part, justified based on the premise that participation exposes student-athletes to an array of situations that, when experienced positively, allow them to learn and refine the life skills necessary to become active, thriving, and contributing members of society. The purpose of this paper is to examine how we can maximize the developmental potential of high school sport and make it impactful. Extant literature suggests that high school sport participation exposes student-athletes to a variety of experiences that can positively and negatively influence their personal development, with coaches playing a particularly influential role in this developmental process. However, within this body of evidence, issues of research quality have been raised, limiting the inferences that can be drawn. Future research directions are presented that address methodological limitations. Furthermore, in efforts to (re)consider the desired impact of high school sport, a critical discussion with policy and practical implications is offered.
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Stéphanie Turgeon, Kelsey Kendellen, Sara Kramers, Scott Rathwell, and Martin Camiré
Camille Sabourin, Stéphanie Turgeon, Laura Martin, Scott Rathwell, Mark Bruner, John Cairney, and Martin Camiré
Although psychological distress has been shown to increase during adolescence, participation in organized activities may have protective effects. The present study aimed to identify whether there is a relationship between high school student-athletes’ breadth of participation in organized activities and psychological distress, using a latent class analysis. Canadian adolescent-athletes (n = 930) in Grades 11 and 12 completed an online survey that measured: (a) high school sport participation, (b) community sport participation, (c) nonsport extracurricular activities participation, and (d) psychological distress. The latent class analysis indicated that a two-class model (i.e., Class 1 = narrower breadth, low distress; Class 2 = wider breadth, moderate distress) was most appropriate. Results indicated that despite the divergent probability of organized activity participation, participants in both classes had a low to moderate probability of presenting elevated levels of psychological distress. However, levels of psychological distress were still higher than other Canadian adolescent populations, suggesting that overscheduling could be of concern. Gender and time (i.e., prior/during COVID-19 pandemic) were significant covariates in the model.