2018 Study Concludes, "Regular participation in sports during childhood was associated with lower levels of mental illness"
A study released this month by Public Health Wales and Bangor University titled, "Sources of resilience and their moderating relationships with harms from adverse childhood experiences" had positive things to say about the effect of sport participation on mental illness.
It seemed a relevant day to write this article as it's the #BellLetsTalk campaign to focus attention on mental illness.
The link to the full study is here in .pdf format.
Here are some highlights taken from the study.
The study uses ACE's - Adverse Childhood Experiences - as a measure of contributing factors to health later in life including mental health, the more ACE's a person suffers the more chance for mental illness later in life. Sports was one contributing factor for building resilience (the ability to overcome hardships) which was a positive influence on mental health. If interested take the time to read the study in full (60 pages)
Highlight #1 - participation in sport conducive to good mental health
Highlight #2 - strong relationships between sports participation in childhood and adulthood and lower mental illness
Highlight #3 - graph on sports participation/mental illness
Because this is a Welsh study, rugby actually gets mentioned twice, as an example of sports clubs that are available to youth. It's good to know that as a coach, parent or administrator, when done properly, sports, including rugby, helps children grow up to be more resilient adults and gives them some tools and a support network to handle and talk about mental illness.