the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Finn Seeley ’25
Associate Professor Asad Khan, from the University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, led an eight-year longitudinal study of the association between sports participation and the psychosocial well-being of Australian children. The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in September of 2023. The researchers found that children who participate regularly from an early age in sports have better long-term mental health.
Data from more than 4,200 Australian children, ages 6-15, was analyzed over eight years. Benefits from team sports including cricket, football, and netball, as well as individual sports, such as gymnastics, karate, and tennis were evaluated. Both team and individual sports were found to be positively associated with the well-being of children. Participation in sports had a positive impact on mental well-being in a dose-dependent manner after participation exceeded four years.
Greater psychosocial benefits from team sports were found in Australian children relative to individual sports, but participation in both types was the most beneficial. From the study, Dr. Khan concluded that “consistent participation in sports from childhood is associated with better mental well-being among adolescents.” When participating in team sports, “this could be due to the social aspects involved such as being surrounded by supportive peers, opportunities to form friendships, and working towards a collaborative goal.”