Online Program

Positive youth development through sport: Assessing developmental outcomes among 3rd-5th grade girls on the run program participants

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rita DeBate, PhD, MPH, FAED, FAAHB, Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Jennifer Bleck, MPH, Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Kathryn Rosini, BA, Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Background: Despite the numerous benefits of physical activity on mental, cognitive, social, and physical health, as girls move from pre-adolescence to young adulthood, their levels of physical activity decline and consequently unhealthy outcomes are likely to occur. Positive youth development though sport (PYDS) programs combine sport and life skills that may address girl-specific determinants of physical activity. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess the short-term developmental outcomes of Girls on the Run, a girl-focused PYDS program for 3rd-5th grade girls. Methods: The current study employed a secondary analysis of data collected as part of the pre-post evaluation conducted with one Girls on the Run Council (n=105). The five PYDS developmental outcomes (character, competence, confidence, connections, and caring) were evaluated using a 58-item Likert questionnaire comprised of sub-construct scales pertaining to specific developmental assets. Results: Results reveal increases on all PYDS developmental outcomes with statistically significant improvements observed with confidence, connectedness, and the overall PYDS sum score (all p<.001). Statistically significant increases were observed for the following sub-constructs: social competency (p<.01), global self-regard (p<.001), perceptions of physical appearance (p<.001), and general connectedness (p<.001). Results also showed positive correlations between overall PYD score improvement and increase in physical activity frequency (r=.27; p<.01). Conclusion: Although limitations included a small sample size, findings suggest that the Girls on the Run program may produce improvements in targeted youth development outcomes and physical activity frequency. This study provides preliminary data for further investigation regarding PYDS programs and physical activity among girls.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the positive youth development through sport (PYDS) conceptual framework. List the PYDS developmental outcomes. Discuss preliminary findings from the Girls on the Run program assessment as they pertain to physical activity among girls.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Child/Adolescent

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an MPH student at the University of South Florida. My research interests include eating disorder prevention and positive youth development.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.