Research Topic

Mental Health and Positive Youth Development in Sport and Physical Activity Contexts

About this Research Topic

Participation in sport and physical activity has been associated with a variety of positive consequences to young people’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual health. Specifically, physical activity, broadly defined, is thought to contribute to the development of a number of individual and external health assets, which will allow participants to transfer skills to other contexts of life. For example, sports may help young people building a set of beliefs, skills, attributes, and knowledge leading to a healthy and productive life. Competence, confidence, character, compassion and a sense of connection in young people are dimensions of healthy development that can be nurtured in sport and physical activity environments and applied in other domains.

On the other hand, sport can also provide an environment where athletes experience pressure to win at all costs and reach an elite level, which can lead to maladaptive patterns of cognitions, emotions, and behaviors and negatively impact mental health. For example, the prevalence of depression and anxiety in elite athletes has been shown to be at least as high as in the general population.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to gather a body of evidence that explores the topic of the positive and negative impact of sport, exercise and physical activity participation in young people’s development and the protective role participation may have in their wellbeing. Topics include:
• Mental health and mental illness in sport and physical activity
• Physical activity and psychosocial health
• Sport and physical activity and flourishing
• Teaching Personal responsibility through sport
• Physical activity and the 5Cs model (competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring) of positive youth development

We welcome original submissions addressing these or similar issues using a variety of methodological approaches (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed-method, systematic reviews, meta-analysis).


Keywords: mental health, positive youth development, sport, physical activity, exercise, well-being


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Participation in sport and physical activity has been associated with a variety of positive consequences to young people’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual health. Specifically, physical activity, broadly defined, is thought to contribute to the development of a number of individual and external health assets, which will allow participants to transfer skills to other contexts of life. For example, sports may help young people building a set of beliefs, skills, attributes, and knowledge leading to a healthy and productive life. Competence, confidence, character, compassion and a sense of connection in young people are dimensions of healthy development that can be nurtured in sport and physical activity environments and applied in other domains.

On the other hand, sport can also provide an environment where athletes experience pressure to win at all costs and reach an elite level, which can lead to maladaptive patterns of cognitions, emotions, and behaviors and negatively impact mental health. For example, the prevalence of depression and anxiety in elite athletes has been shown to be at least as high as in the general population.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to gather a body of evidence that explores the topic of the positive and negative impact of sport, exercise and physical activity participation in young people’s development and the protective role participation may have in their wellbeing. Topics include:
• Mental health and mental illness in sport and physical activity
• Physical activity and psychosocial health
• Sport and physical activity and flourishing
• Teaching Personal responsibility through sport
• Physical activity and the 5Cs model (competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring) of positive youth development

We welcome original submissions addressing these or similar issues using a variety of methodological approaches (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed-method, systematic reviews, meta-analysis).


Keywords: mental health, positive youth development, sport, physical activity, exercise, well-being


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Abstract
30 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Abstract
30 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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