Sport – a protective factor in facing the risky behavior of children and youth

  • Zlata Torbarina
Keywords: sport, violence, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, risky sexual behavior

Abstract

Th e research was carried out in May 2006 in Opatija on a sample of 585 participants – 203
sportspersons (35%), 255 occasional sportspersons (43%) and 127 non-sportspersons (22%)
aged 10-19, i.e. pupils of elementary school grade 4 to 8 and high school students.
Th e goal of the research was to deepen the understanding of the existence or non-existence of
a connection between going in for sports and risky behavior of children and youth.
Four hypotheses have been put forward:
H1. Children and youth who engage in organized sports activities are less prone to violence than
children and youth who do not engage in organized sports activities or do not do sport at all.
H2. Children and youth who engage in organized sports activities take in less legal and illegal
psychoactive substances than children and youth who do not engage in organized sports
activities or do not do sport at all.
H3. Children and youth who engage in organized sports activities are more responsible towards
their health than children and youth who do not engage in organized sport activities
or do not do sport at all.
H4. Children and youth who engage in organized sports activities are less prone to risky
forms of behavior than children and youth who do not engage in organized sports activities
or do not do sport at all.
In the various participants' groups, diff erent correlations were found between risky behaviors.
In the sportspersons sample, the only statistically signifi cant correlation was between sexual
behavior and addiction (,373). In the occasional sportsperson group, positive correlations
were found between violence and addiction (,135), violence and sexual behavior (,147), and a
really signifi cant connection of addiction and sexual behavior (,442). In the non-sportsperson
group, sexual behavior and addiction were really signifi cantly positively correlated (,454),
sexual behavior and nutrition negatively (-,169), as well as addiction and nutrition (-,213).
Sportspersons are less violent and use signifi cantly less addictive substances than occasional
sportspersons and non-sportspersons. When socio-demographic variables such as gender, age and material status are controlled,

(non) going in for sports has statistically signifi cant eff ects on the majority of risky behaviors
examined in the research.

Published
2011-05-15