Sport participation may protect socioeconomically disadvantaged youths with refugee backgrounds from experiencing behavioral and emotional difficulties

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O'Donnell, Alexander W
Stuart, Jaimee
Barber, Bonnie L
Abkhezr, Peyman
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2020
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Introduction: Youth with refugee backgrounds experience social and socioeconomic difficulties that arise following resettlement. Research has found that sport participation generally provides youth with a protective milieu that is especially beneficial for the most disadvantaged youth. Accordingly, the current study examines whether sport participation is related to positive psychosocial outcomes for resettled adolescent refugees, and if these effects are greater for those living in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Method: Data were from a large, nationally representative cohort of refugees recently resettled in Australia (Building New Life in Australia study, BNLA). Self-reported social and emotional well-being was collected from 415 youth who entered the country as refugees (Mage = 14.04, SD = 1.99) at three years post settlement were used. Results: A moderated regression analysis indicated that refugee youth living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods who participated in sports reported significantly better outcomes compared to those refugee youth in economically similar neighborhoods who did not participate in sport. In contrast, refugee youth residing in more socioeconomically advantaged communities had better developmental outcomes, regardless of sport participation. Conclusions: Sport participation is a protective factor for youth with refugee backgrounds. Community socioeconomic disadvantage moderates this relationship, whereby stronger effects were observed for adolescents in more disadvantaged communities. Protecting the most disadvantaged in our society is a human rights imperative, and the current study indicates that sport participation could contribute to these efforts among resettled refugee populations.

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Journal of Adolescence
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85
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Subject
Criminology
Sociology
Psychology
Other psychology
Migration
Applied and developmental psychology
Clinical and health psychology
Social and personality psychology
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O'Donnell, AW; Stuart, J; Barber, BL; Abkhezr, P, Sport participation may protect socioeconomically disadvantaged youths with refugee backgrounds from experiencing behavioral and emotional difficulties, Journal of Adolescence, 2020, 85, pp. 148-152