Sport participation and its association with social and psychological factors known to predict substance use and abuse among youth: A scoping review of the literature Academic Article uri icon

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  • This article presents the results of a scoping review of the sport literature (2000-2014) on psychological and social outcomes relevant to youth alcohol and illicit drug use. Prior reviews report that sport is related to increased alcohol use and reduced illicit drug use among youth, yet provide little guidance regarding the mechanisms that can explain this relationship. We reviewed the literature on sport participation and psychological and social outcomes to identify factors that could help explain this link. Psychological and social factors were selected as they play a paramount role in understanding youth alcohol and drug use. Fifty-nine articles were identified and included in the review. The literature generally supported connections between sport and positive psychological and social outcomes, including self-esteem, self-regulation, general life skills, and pro-social behaviour. Yet limitations in the methods and measures limit the ability to draw conclusions from the literature. In addition, the diversity of youth and sport was generally ignored in the literature. This article suggests a number of directions for future research that might improve our understanding of how sport impacts psychological and social outcomes along with alcohol and illicit drug use.


  • Clark, Heather J
  • Camiré, Martin
  • Wade, Terrance J
  • Cairney, John

publication date

  • January 2015