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Maureen Weiss: Positive Youth Development through Sport and Physical Activity: Progress, Puzzles, and Promise
Donnerstag, 25.05.2017:
13:30 - 14:30

Chair der Sitzung: Anne-Marie Elbe, Universität Kopenhagen
Ort: Hörsaal 001
400 Plätze, Fabrikstrasse 6

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Positive youth development through sport and physical activity: Progress, puzzles, and promise

Maureen Weiss

University of Minnesota

In the past decade, sport and physical activity researchers have embraced the positive youth development (PYD) framework as a means of understanding the social and environmental factors that promote desirable attributes, behaviors, and skills, while at the same time preventing unhealthy behaviors (e.g., Gould & Carson, 2008; Petitpas et al., 2005; Weiss, Kipp, & Bolter, 2012). Positive youth development refers to the acquisition of physical, social, and psychological competencies, often referred to as life skills, which enable children and adolescents to effectively function and thrive in multiple domains (e.g., home, school, peer contexts), currently and across the lifespan. Learning and mastering life skills provide youth with the ability to make informed choices, demonstrate adaptive behaviors, attain healthy outcomes, and evolve into contributing citizens. Given the longstanding belief that sport participation holds potential for enhancing confidence, character, and leadership skills (Wiggins, 2013), it is not surprising that sport is seen as a context in which positive youth development can be fostered. The empirical research on PYD through sport has progressed rapidly over the past decade. The majority of research has used qualitative and correlational designs, revealing athletes’ perceptions of their experiences in learning life skills (e.g., Holt et al., 2008), and relationships between the coaching climate and psychosocial and behavioral outcomes (e.g., Gano-Overway et al., 2009). Relatively fewer studies have included intervention and evaluation designs that pinpoint the factors that make an impact on PYD outcomes (e.g., Weiss et al., 2016). In my presentation I will provide a comprehensive review of physical-activity based PYD research to date, with a focus on integrating theory, research, and evidence-based best practices. I begin by providing a brief historical overview on sport as a context for promoting youth development. Second, I review the theoretical underpinnings of the PYD approach, including essential features of PYD programs and their translation to sport and physical activity contexts. Third, I consolidate the research on PYD through sport and physical activity—progress made using descriptive (qualitative, correlational) and experimental (intervention, evaluation) designs. Fourth, I describe three exemplary physical activity-based PYD programs, including their social-contextual features and targeted outcomes that are compatible with the PYD framework. Finally, based on this comprehensive review of empirical research, I address the puzzles and promise — measurement, developmental, and conceptual issues — that should be considered in future research efforts for advancing the knowledge base in PYD through sport and physical activity.

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