How Team Sports Reduce Risk of Depression in Kids

How Team Sports Reduce Risk of Depression in Kids

How Team Sports Reduce Risk of Depression in Kids The teenage and preteen years can be difficult for a great deal of children. Their bodies are changing, their hormones are depression, anxiety, and raging could be a very genuine part of the existence of theirs.


In reality, a 2016 study in the journal Pediatrics found a thirty seven % increase in the amount of teens who have experienced major depressive episodes during the last ten years.


A lot of those children are not getting the help they require either.


The Kid Mind Institute reported that sixty % of children with depression are going with no treatment.


Those’re bleak numbers for every parent to think about – but what if there was a means to mitigate the chances the kid of yours might 1 day live with depression?


It turns out there could be.


Batter up!

Current research found that involvement in team sports was correlated with a larger hippocampal volume (the part of the brain responsible for processing of emotional responses and long term memory) in both females and boys.


This’s crucial because adult depression has been associated with a shrinking hippocampus in other studiesTrusted Source.


In reality, the most recent report did find a decrease in depression rates among boys ages nine to eleven who have been engaged in team sports.


The results make sense, according to Dr. Cynthia LaBella, chairperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Sports Fitness and Medicine, and medical director at the Institute for Sports Medicine at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.


“Team sports provide regular aerobic activity, that could have beneficial effects on mood,”, cognition, and memory she told Healthline.


That very same involvement also can provide children with a social network of peers, while also instilling in them a sense of purpose, belonging, and achievement.


“All of which are protective factors against depression,” LaBella explained.



See our weekly Depression email In order to help you prevent and manage episodes, we will send you expert guidance, compassionate individual stories, and tips.


Enter the email of yours


Enter the email of yours



Your privacy is essential to us


Team sports appear to be the primary key The study involved 4,191 kids between ages nine and eleven and relied on parents to answer questions about their child’s participation in an assortment of activities and any symptoms of depression.


The beneficial results were not found for non sporting activities.


Nevertheless, the study authors acknowledged this may be because participation in sports increases the hippocampus and decreases depression, or perhaps it can be that teens predisposed to depression aren’t as keen on participating in sporting activities.


They say this’s an area where more research may have to be done.


But Monica Jackman, an occupational therapist at Little Lotus Therapy in Port St. Lucie, Florida, can understand why team sports could have provided a much more noticeable positive impact.


“Team sports inherently foster development of social emotional inhibitory control and self regulation skills as players are required to follow and remember game rules, take turns, cooperate and collaborate with teammates, build trust in teammates, and experience empathy for others during losses,” and wins she told Healthline.


But do those positive benefits extend to kids who might not be as naturally athletic?


Jackman clarified that while “children with developmental coordination disorder have reported increased rates of loneliness and lower self concept than typically developing children,” studiesTrusted Source have shown that those same children have been found to report much less of that loneliness when participating in team sports when their coordination difficulties may otherwise hold them back.




Get Answers from a Doctor in Minutes, Anytime Have medical questions? Connect with a board certified, experienced doctor online or perhaps by phone. Pediatricians and other specialists available 24/7.



Squad goals The study’s findings may encourage many parents to find out more activities for their children to join.


Nevertheless, the researchers note that the good benefits they observed didn’t extend to other pursuits as music or even art.


Specifically, non sport activities weren’t found being related to any increased amount of the hippocampus or perhaps decreased rates of depression.


Individual sports were also not found to create a positive change in either area.


LaBella has a concept as to why that could be.


“I suspect the reason the study didn’t get the exact same results for participation in activities that are other might be because some other activities don’t combine physical training with working together as a team to achieve a common goal and beat an opponent,” she said.


So it is not enough to simply be on a team (chess club, for instance), or perhaps to simply participate in activity that is physical (like weight training).


To see the true benefits presented in the study, one would have to be doing both – participating in a team sport, where cooperation and physical activity combine.


LaBella explained that, “With individual sports, like golf and swimming, and any other non sports activities, like art, music, crafts, and chess, the participants train, perform, and compete alone. So the peer socialization benefits are much less.”


The way she encourages parents to not dismiss the benefits those various other activities offer.


“It’s crucial that you find out that participation in music and art have been proven to be advantageous to brain health in other ways,” she explained.


 Help for all kids Another interesting outcome of the study was that while the increased hippocampal volume was detected in both females and boys who played team sports, just the boys also showed an obvious decrease in depression rates.


The study authors theorized this may be because boys and females have different pressures that contribute to depression, or perhaps it may be the reduction in depression rates simply be apparent in females at later ages.


In either case, Jackman has advice for parents concerned about helping their kids stay away from the struggles of depression: Encourage “active engagement in activities that provide natural opportunity for social emotional learning and connection.”


In today’s digital age, in which a lot of children are using digital games and social media to interact, she worries they are missing out on opportunities to get conflict resolution skills and build on collaborative problem solving.


She is also concerned they are not learning to recognize real life social cues, like body language, facial affect, and emotional tone of voice almost as they need to.


“By the nature of theirs, team sports and other goal directed or perhaps organized group activities are able to nurture social communication, cooperation, self-efficacy, and respect and integrity for group rules and objectives,” she explained.


LaBella said she is glad to see team sports getting some good press and also hopes more parents are going to take note of the good advantages they are able to provide for children.


“The stories that frequently make headlines are injuries because of sports,” she explained. “But it is essential for parents to understand that for the vast majority of kids, the advantages of sports participation far outweigh the risks.”


Meaning for several parents, right now could be the time to begin getting your children engaged in a team sport.

Leave a Comment