Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Adolesc Health. 1996 May;18(5):329-34.

Sports participation in an urban high school: academic and psychologic correlates.

Author information

  • 1North Shore University Hospital-Cornell University Medical College, Manhasset, New York, USA.



To study positive and negative correlates of sports participation in inner-city youth.


We distributed anonymous questionnaires to 838 students in gym classes of an urban New York City High School. Forty five percent of students were male and 55% female, with mean age 16.0 years; 64% in grades 9-10, and 36% in grades 11-12; 63% black, 27% Hispanic, and 10% other; and 30% A/B students, 38% C students, and 32% D/F students.


All students reported some involvement in sports: 37% in 1-2 sports, 29% in 3-4 sports 24% in > or = 5 sports; 20% played on local teams, and 12% on junior or senior varsity. Approximately one-third each reported no weekday sports participation (30%), 1-2 hours per day (34%), or > or = 3 hours (36%); and 34% reported no participation on weekends, 26% reported 1-2 hours per day, and 40% > or = 3 hours. Basketball, volleyball, baseball, and weight lifting were the most common sports. Enjoyment, recreation, and competition were the most commonly reported reasons for participation. While 86% of subjects considered school "extremely" or "very" important, 35% considered sports "extremely" or "very" important. However, many believed they would "definitely" or "probably" receive an athletic scholarship (52% males, 20% females). Males reported more (p < .05) weekday, weekend, and team participation, and greater expectations (p <.001) of a future in sports. Sports involvement was not statistically associated with academic performance or scores on either the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale or Depression Self Rating Scale. Steroid use, at least once, was reported by 11% of males and 4% of females. Thirteen percent of students (21% males, 6% females) tried to gain weight for sports and 20% of both males and females tried to lose. Sports injuries within the past year were reported by 15% of students, and approximately three-quarters could correctly answer each of five questions about basic first aid.


The data indicate that most of these urban youth had athletic involvement, many had unrealistic expectations for their futures, and some utilized unhealthy behaviors in an attempt to enhance performance. Among these students, no association was found between sports involvement and academic performance, self-esteem, or depression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk