Does Organised Sport Participation Predict Body Appreciation in Adolescents?
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Background: Of adolescents in Norway, 70% report experiencing body appearance pressure. Positive body image can be a protective factor against body image concerns and promote healthy behaviours. Sport has been suggested to be an enhancing area for positive body image. However, in Norway six out of ten drop out of organised sport in adolescent years. Objective: To examine associations between sports participation and body appreciation, and between participation in different sport types (individual, team, or both) and body appreciation. It was also examined if gender moderated the associations. Method: The study applied data of adolescents in first year of high schools from COMPLETE (n = 2249), an RCT-study administered by the HEMIL-center at the University of Bergen. The Body Appreciation Scale-2 was applied as measure. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine if sports participation predicted body appreciation. Interaction variables were also included to examine if gender moderated the associations. Results: There was a significant, but weak positive association between sport participation and body appreciation, and between all three sport groups and body appreciation. There was a significant effect of gender as a moderator between participation in both sports and body appreciation. Follow-up analysis revealed this association was only significant for boys. Conclusion: Sport participation is a positive predictor of body appreciation, independent of whether adolescents participate in individual sports, team sports, or both individual and team sports. To facilitate and encourage adolescents to continue with sports can be an important focus to enhance health promoting effects.
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