Effects of participation in school sports on academic and social functioning

Martin Van Boekel, Okan Bulut, Luke Stanke, Jose R. Palma Zamora, Yoojeong Jang, Youngsoon Kang, Kyle Nickodem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


For many students, school-organized sports play an important role in students' academic and social experiences. This study focuses on the effects of participation in school-organized sports on academic achievement and students' perceptions of family support, teacher and community support, and school safety. Data were obtained from the 2010 administration of the Minnesota Student Survey, resulting in a total sample of 29,535 12th grade students of which 12,849 participated regularly (at least 1-2 times per week) in school-organized sports. Propensity score matching was used to match similar students who voluntarily participated in school sports with those who were not involved in any school sports. Participation in school sports was associated with higher GPAs, favorable perceptions of school safety, and increased perceptions of family and teacher/community support. Guidance for parents, educators, and policymakers on how to further promote students' academic and social success are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Academic achievement
  • Adolescence
  • Propensity score matching
  • School-organized sports
  • Social functioning


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