Impact of Sports on Mental and Social Health

Background Summary

There has been more than enough data to suggest how much physical activity a child or adolescent should participate in to achieve good physical health. Data indicates that health related fitness leads to better health. It is agreed by many that physical activity also contributes to mental health benefits for adolescents as well (Eime, 2013, 5.) While it is agreed that physical activity is good for overall health, there is not near as much evidence to suggest its correlation to social and mental health.

The World Health Organization has had physical activity guidelines that suggest social health benefits however they don’t have near as much research done regarding the social and mental health benefits related to physical activity. It is crucial that we determine the facts related not only to physical health but also mental and social health related benefits of physical activity (Eime, 2013, 6.) The author breaks down physical activity into leisure physical activity where sports could be included (Eime, 2013, 8.


Sports, which are typically competitive and team-based activities are good for social health. However, participation in sports declines throughout adolescence (Eime, 2013, 8.) Further investment in sport has been justified regarding its health benefits despite its lack of clear understanding on the best way to achieve all possible benefits of both mental and physical health.

Psychological Health Benefits for Adolescents Related to Physical Activity


Inclusion criteria has studies published in English from 1990 and 2012 that are all original reports and research published throughout peer review journals, government and other organizational publications. All the studies present data that address children and adolescents receiving mental and social health benefits from participation in sports (Eime, 2013, 12.

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) Exclusion criteria was any study that addressed exercise, physical education, and recreation in the absence of mentioning sport. Research also excluded sport participation from handicapped and disabled people. Elite athletes, spectators, coaches and sports admins were also excluded from these reports (Eime, 2013, 13.) A systematic approach was taken to search 14 electronic databases and consult with multiple sports commissions to find directly related reports to the research hypothesis.

Results 1

Only 30 studies met the inclusion criteria (Eime, 2013, 20.) The studies mostly took place in schools and there were no controlled trials. There was a long range of benefits that kids noticed from the social skills of interacting with a team and their coaches. Both higher quality and lower quality studies represented the same findings of social and mental health benefits of physical activity through sport (Eime, 2013, 21.) Table 2 included represents multiple mental and social health qualities that the children and adolescents gain from participating in sports.

In conclusion, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that children and adolescents who participate in sports as leisure physical activity will benefit from mental and social health.

There is evidence that even suggest participation in team sports has more health benefits than individual activities. It is recommended that more leisure time sport activity be provided for and encouraged for adolescents and children as it will not only help some physical ailments that are beginning to plague our youth, but also because of the social and mental health benefits that they will receive. It is also recommended that researchers focus more on the research quality of such correlations to mental and social health from children and adolescents participating in sport. Further research process can be improved upon for more consistency and rigor.

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Impact of Sports on Mental and Social Health. (2021, Dec 19). Retrieved from

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