An investigation into the impact of sport on the behaviour of young people who reside in an area of socio-economic deprivation and attend a pupil referral unit with North Wales
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Youth antisocial behaviour has become a growing concern in recent years due to the negative influences that it can have on communities. Research has shown that sport can have a positive influence on behaviour, which may lead to a decrease in antisocial behaviour (Coalter, 2007; Laureus, 2009). However, despite anecdotal evidence suggesting a link between sport and behaviour change the research suggests that it is difficult to prove a cause-effect relationship between sport and antisocial behaviour. The aim of this study was to look at the impact that sport has on behaviour of young people, who reside in an area of socio-economic deprivation and attend a pupil referral unit within North Wales. This research adopted a qualitative framework approach; three in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with males aged between 13 and 14, two of which were full time at the pupil referral unit and the other part time. The interviews were then transcribed and analysed to identify key themes. This study found that sport had a positive impact on the reduction of antisocial behaviour these young people partake in, this was reinforced by a decrease in the involvement these young people had with the police. Sport provided these young people with an understanding of their behaviours, which helped them to develop key skills such as self-esteem and confidence. However, it is difficult to determine the extent to which sport influenced them, as there are many external factors. For example, parenting, peer groups and the change in their education environment. Furthermore, the predominant use of sport at the unit leads to improvements academically, additionally improvements within their behaviour. Which leads to the discovery that, in order for sport to be successful, a multifaceted approach must be used. This approach reduces boredom levels and increases the possibility of them using their spare time more wisely by participating in sport (Coalter, 2007). To conclude, it is clear that sport contributes to developing pro-social behaviours, through the development of key skills. However, the influential extent is unclear due to the many external factors.
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