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James P. McHale, Penelope G. Vinden, Loren Bush, Derek Richer, David Shaw, and Brienne Smith

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sport-involved youth reported higher self-esteem and were rated by teachers as more socially competent and less shy and withdrawn.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.