Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Prevention Institute, Augusta, 30912-3700, USA.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationships of interscholastic sports participation with locus of control, self-concept, cognitive test scores, and school dropout in adolescents via a secondary analysis of National Educational Longitudinal Study 1988 (NELS:88). Subjects were 1,883 students who completed all measurements in 8th grade (1988), at Follow-up 1 (10th, 1990), and Follow-up 2 (12th, 1992). Scales utilized to measure locus of control, self-concept, and cognitive ability were developed by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Dropout was assessed through school records and contact with participants. At baseline and Follow-up 1, students self-reporting sport participation displayed higher self-concept and locus of control; however, these differences were no longer observed at Follow-up 2. Drop-out rate for boys at Follow-up 2 was significantly lower for students reporting interscholastic sport participation at baseline or at Follow-up 1. Similarly, drop-out rate for girls at Follow-up 2 was significantly lower for students reporting interscholastic sport participation at baseline or at Follow-up 1. These findings support the presumed positive role of sport participation for adolescents in American schools.