The features of the psycho-social condition of sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers

Фотографии: 

Ph.D. student Alma Kisielienė. Lithuanian Sports Uversity Kaunas, Lithuania.
Dr. Rimantas Rauleckas. Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. 
Diana Arlauskaitė. The deserved judo coach of Lithuania, Jurbarkas

Key words: psycho-social condition; sporting; teenagers; sense of coherence; self-efficacy; aggression; alcohol consumption; smoking.

Introduction

It should be stressed that the speed of the contemporary life and global alterations taking place in social, economic, political, cultural spheres and in the sphere of common and personal values do complicate the process of teenagers' socialisation. During this process that embraces social, biological and personality forming dimensions the teenagers start applying the socially accepted standards of behaviour and assimilate the value-based orientations, which help to shape their personality as the subject of social relations.

The education institutions that offer sport activities have a considerable impact on the formation of the teenagers' personality. However, this impact is not estimated as uniform [4, 5]. The concept 'salutogenesis' (Latin 'salus' meaning 'health', 'welfare') was extended by Aaron Antonovsky in 1970 as an attempt at the explanation of the factors determining the somatic and psychic health, which turns to be little affected by stressors [1]. As Antonovsky claims, the impact of stress (either positive or negative) is determined not as much by the specificity of a particular stress but rather by a person’s individual characteristics allowing to react to all kind of stresses in a way suitable for the structure of his/her organism. The whole complex of the individual traits was called the sense of coherence, which, actually, forms the global life orientation understood as a necessary condition for a personality’s development and psycho-emotional stability [3].

The research aims at determining and comparing the psycho-social condition of the sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers. In order to fulfil the set out goal the following tasks were undertaken:

  • to determine the expression of the sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers sense of coherence, happiness, subjective health estimation, psychosomatic disorders and aggression and the differences concerning alcohol consumption and smoking.
  • to find out the differences in self-efficacy expression among the sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers with respect to the consumption of psychoactive materials;
  • to define the differences between the expression of self-efficacy and aggression among the sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers with respect to sport activities.

Respondents and research organisation.

During the experiment 609 respondents of both sexes at the age of 12-17 years (average age 14.58 years) were interviewed. The respondents were included into two samples. The sample of the sport-involved teenagers (SG) consisted of 262 teenagers involved in various sport branches, such as track-and-field athletics, basketball, judo, boxing and wrestling. The tested group (TG) consisted of 347 teenagers uninvolved in any sport contest activities. The age of the respondents of both samples did not differ significantly. The anonymous questionnaires were applied. To determine the respondents' expression of the types of aggression the Buss-Perry aggression questionnaire was used which consists of four sub-scales: physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger and hostility. For the analysis of the teenagers' self-efficacy two questionnaire sub-scales adapted by Cappara on the basis of the Bandura method were used. One of them was taken to examine self-efficacy as an ability to control negative emotions and the other one to explore self-efficacy as an ability to resist a negative impact of the peers (i.e., self-regulatory efficacy).  Self-efficacy was determined with the use of the Antonovsky questionnaire.

Research results and their discussion

 Antonovsky claims that the impact of self-efficacy on health is triple: firstly, with the help of psycho-somatic mechanisms, the endocrine and immune system maintaining an organism's homeostasis is possibly affected; secondly, the persons who demonstrate a more expressed sense of coherence are more motivated to avoid certain situations and activities that might negatively affect their health and who, at the same time, actively participate in health protecting activities (e.g., physical exercises); thirdly, the sense of coherence affects cognitive stress estimation [2, 11].

In our analysis, we attempted at determining the expression of the sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers' sense of coherence, happiness, subjective health evaluation, psychosomatic ailments and aggression and at describing the differences in the consumption of psychoactive materials. The obtained results revealed the significant differences in the psycho-social condition of the sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers that should not be estimated uniformly. On the one hand, the sport-involved teenagers showed a better psycho-emotional condition, i.e., a more distinctly expressed sense of coherence (χ²=11.03 p=0.001), happiness (χ²=18.42 p<0.001), better subjectively evaluated health (χ²=15.58 p<0.001), rarer psychosomatic disorders (χ²=20.06 p<0.001) and a less expressed hostility (χ²=5.42 p=0.02). On the other hand, the sport-involved persons demonstrated a less socially acceptable behaviour, i.e., a more distinctly expressed physical aggression (χ²=4.83 p=0.028) and higher consumption of alcoholic drinks (χ²=4.3 p=0.039). These results only partially confirm the theory and therefore the problem was approached from another additional perspective. We tried to find out the differences in self-efficacy between the sport-involved (SG) and sport-uninvolved (TG) teenagers with respect to the use of psychoactive materials.

It was found out that in both groups the teenagers who did not use psychoactive materials demonstrated a more distinctly expressed self-regulatory efficacy, i.e., self-efficacy as an ability to resist the negative impact of the peers than the teenagers who used psychoactive materials (Table 1). Then it was determined that in controlling negative emotions self-efficacy was more expressed among the sport-involved teenagers who did not use psychoactive materials (Table 1, 2).

It may be claimed that, as an ability to resist the negative impact of peers, self-regulatory efficacy is one of the most important factors determining the teenagers' prevention of psychoactive materials. At the same time it may be assumed that, in adolescence, sport activities lead to a better regulation of negative emotions.

When analysing the expression of aggression among the sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers who use and do not use psychoactive materials it was found out that the consumption of psychoactive materials was related with a stronger expression of aggression [Tables 3, 4, 5].

Smoking sport-involved teenagers showed a more expressed physical aggression and anger than non-smoking sport-uninvolved teenagers. It is interesting to note that smoking sport-uninvolved teenagers demonstrated a stronger aggression of all types than non-smoking sport-uninvolved teenagers (Table 3).

Within their groups, the teenagers who consumed alcohol differed considerably with respect to aggression. Alcohol consuming sport-involved teenagers showed a more expressed physical and verbal aggression and anger than sport-involved teenagers who did not consume alcohol. Alcohol consuming sport-uninvolved teenagers demonstrated a more frequent expression of physical aggression, anger and hostility than sport-uninvolved teenagers who did not consume alcohol (Table 3).

It was interesting to discover that the expression of aggression did not differ among smoking SG and TG teenagers, yet, non-smoking sport-involved teenagers showed physical aggression more frequently than non-smoking sport-uninvolved teenagers (Table 4). At the same time, the tendency was observed (p<0.1) that non-smoking sport-uninvolved teenagers demonstrated hostility more frequently than non-smoking sport-involved ones.

When comparing the teenagers of both the SG and TG groups who consumed alcohol with the SG and TG teenagers who did not consume it the significant differences were determined (Table 5).

It should be noted that, in this respect, sport-involved teenagers significantly differed from sport-uninvolved teenagers. Sport-involved teenagers who consumed alcoholic drinks demonstrated a higher verbal aggressivity; the ones who did not consume alcohol demonstrated a higher physical aggressivity than sport-uninvolved teenagers. Sport-uninvolved teenagers who consumed alcoholic drinks demonstrated higher hostility.

Sport-uninvolved teenagers showed an inward oriented dealing with negative emotions. It may be assumed that sport-involved teenagers are more apt to express their aggression in an open way. It has been confirmed by a number of studies; yet, the scholars explain the reasons of this phenomenon differently. Some claim that sport activities, especially with regard to contact sport branches, the contest rules of which allow to apply certain aggresive actions, increase the aggressivity of sport-involved teenagers. Others argue that the persons who distinguish themselves by more expressed aggressivity are apt to select the mentioned sport branches.

At present the researchers from many countries stress an exceptional role of the trainer as educator, whose personal traits may positively or negatively affect the development of the personality's ethical and moral attitudes that find reflection in the particular forms of behaviour both in sport activities and  behind them.

Conclusions. The significant differences in the psycho-social condition of sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers were determined. They cannot be estimated one-sidedly since, on the one hand, sport-involved teenagers demonstrate a better psycho-emotional condition, i.e., a stronger expressed feeling of inner harmony, happiness, a better subjectively evaluated health and more rare psychosomatic disorders. On the other hand, sportsboys and sportsgirls were more inclined to demonstrate a socially less acceptable behaviour, i.e., a more expressed physical aggression and more frequent consumption of alcoholic drinks.

The analysis showed that self-efficacy reinforcing the ability to resist the negative impact of other teenagers was significantly related with rarer alcohol consumption and smoking and therefore might be considered as a preventive factor in adolescence among both sport-involved and sport-uninvolved teenagers.

The sport-involved teenagers who do not consume any psychoactive materials demonstrated more expressed self-efficacy in controlling negative emotions than their sport-uninvolved peers who did not consume any psychoactive materials. It might be assumed that the former might use sports as a strategy for stress handling. Meanwhile the teenagers of both groups who consumed psychoactive materials showed a more expressed aggression.

Since the sport-involved teenagers demonstrated the more characteristic forms of openly expressed aggression, therefore, their teachers and trainers should apply adequate strategies of education that would help to express aggression as an active position in socially accepted forms. The sport-uninvolved teenagers showed a more characteristic inner dealing with negative emotions, which in certain cases may become the reason for nervous anxiety or depression.

References

  1. Antonovsky A. The Sense of Coherence as a Determinant of Health//Advances, Institute for Advancement   of Health. 1984. Т. 1. №3. P. 37-50.
  2. Lubysheva L. I. The Social Role of Sports in the Development of Society and Personality's Socialisation / Lubysheva, L. I. // Physical Education and Sport. – 2007. – №3.
  3. Osin K. N. Sense of Coherence as an Indicator of Psychological Health and Its Diagnostics. Psychological Diagnostics 2004. №3.
  4. Stambulova B.N. Elaboration of the Problem of Ontopsychology of Physical Education and Sport by A.C. Puni's School of Research. Theory and Practice оf Physical Education. — 2001.— № 5
  5. Wylleman, P., & De Knop, P. Combining academic and athletic excellence: The case of elite studentathletes. Paper presented at the International Conference of the European Council for High Ability, Vienna, Austria. (1996, October).