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
Cecelia Tarr, Tarkington J. Newman, Fernando Santos, and Stéphanie Turgeon
To meet the diverse needs of youth athletes within contemporary society, the privilege and responsibility of youth sport coaching must be reimagined. Critical positive youth development (CPYD)—which is grounded in Freire’s critical consciousness—emphasizes the urgency to empower youth to promote social justice and increase their ability to contribute to societal change. Considering the scarcity of CPYD in coach education, sport social workers may offer unique educational experiences and critical learning opportunities that may help fulfill a CPYD mandate within the youth sport landscape. From a social constructivist perspective, the aim of the current study was to explore the duality of sport social workers coaching competitive youth sport. Findings from 10 sport social workers suggest that the values, knowledge, and skills of the social work profession—particularly sport social work—seem to offer a transferable skillset and lessons to be emulated by CPYD coach education. For instance, because of their unique education and training, social workers are taught to use a strengths-based approach, maintain a holistic perspective, and teach life skills that contribute to PYD. However, findings also emphasize the notion that education may not solve all challenges concerning the need to foster CPYD, as many other variables make up the sport system.
Iris A. Lesser, Stéphanie Turgeon, Carl P. Nienhuis, and Corliss Bean
Postpartum physical activity can positively impact mental and physical health. There is a need to better understand how physical activity is related to various psychological constructs to support physical activity in postpartum women. Thus, the purpose of this exploratory, quantitative, study was to examine differences between postpartum women who were physically active and those who were physically inactive on psychological (e.g., self-compassion) and mental health constructs. Five hundred twenty-five women (M age = 28.4) completed an online survey. Participants who reported being active following the birth of their last child had significantly higher exercise self-efficacy, self-compassion, and basic psychological needs fulfillment for exercise and significantly lower levels of perceived fatigue, anxiety, and depression compared with their inactive counterparts. However, active mothers had lower body satisfaction than inactive mothers. Women who are active after the birth of a child have improved psychological constructs that may benefit overall well-being and mental health during this challenging transition.
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.