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Table 1 Summary table1

From: Sport-based youth development interventions in the United States: a systematic review

Intervention /Author (year) Intervention Characteristics Participants Methodology Analysis Strategy Outcomes Addressed Main Findings Study Quality Summary of Study Limitations
Summer Sport and Life Skills Camps
Anderson-Butcher et al. (2013) Participants attended a 4-week sport-based PYD summer camp for 5 h per day. N = 193
Age 9–16
(Mean = 11.93)
Mixed methods, single group Dependent t-test; content analysis of program observations Social competence, sport-specific social competence, belonging Process: Engagement and interaction between staff and youth noted as a major strength; behavioral management and social skill promotion were areas in need of improvement.
Efficacy: No differences reported in social competence or belonging; pre-post improvements were reported in athletic competence (p < .01).
Weak; coherence between purpose and qualitative method. No philosophical assumptions discussed Evidence of selection bias; no comparison group; large percentage of participants who did not complete measures; lack of blinded outcomes; less than optimal scale reliabilities; philosophical assumptions, data collection methods, and data analysis methods not reported in detail
Anderson-Butcher et al. (2014) Participants attended a 4-week sport-based PYD summer camp for 5 h per day. N = 287
Age 9–16
(Mean = 11.85)
Quantitative, single group Latent growth curve modeling Social competence, sport-specific competence, belonging, self-control, effort, teamwork, social responsibility Efficacy: Social responsibility was reported to increase from pre-to-posttest. No other outcomes improved. Moderator analysis showed that those with lowest pre-test scores benefitted most from the program. Perceived belonging was shown to predict changes in outcome variables. Weak Evidence of selection bias; no comparison group; lack of reporting on withdrawals; lack of blinded outcomes
Gano-Overway et al. (2009) See Newton et al. N = 395
Age 9–16
(Mean = 11.8)
Quantitative, single group, cross-sectional Test of mediation via structural equation modelling Caring climate, emotional self-regulation, empathic self-efficacy, prosocial and antisocial behaviors Efficacy: Affective self-regulatory efficacy and empathic self-efficacy mediated the relationship between a caring climate and youth’s social behaviors. Weak Cross-sectional study design; unable to account for likely covariates; amount of variance explained in models suggests other factors are salient in explaining behaviors
McDavid et al. (2015) Participants attended a 4-week summer PYD through PA program for 6.5 h per day. N = 321
Age 7–14
(Mean = 10.33)
Quantitative, single group Latent variable longitudinal structural equation panel modeling Self-worth, hope Efficacy: No changes reported in self-worth or hope across the program. Gender and race did not moderate outcomes. Changes in self-worth predicted changes in hope, but only explained a small percent of the variance (2–7%). Weak Single group; non-causal design; measurement time lag; small effect sizes
McDavid et al. (2017) Participants attended a 4-week summer PYD through PA program for 7 h per day. Group leaders were randomly assigned to receive standard training or training grounded in SDT. N = 379
Age range NR
Quantitative, randomized control trial Multi-level latent variable modeling, mediational analysis Psychological need support, psychological need satisfaction, hope, self-worth Process: Leader behavior was shown to influence child level outcomes (regardless of group).
Efficacy: Changes in psychological need satisfaction predicted changes in hope and self-worth. Intervention did not affect leader behavior as intended.
Moderate Lack of intervention effect; non-blinded outcomes
Newton et al. (2007) Participants attended a 5-week summer camp sponsored by the NYSP. Camp sessions were attended daily and consisted of 4 h of PA, 1 hour of health education, lunch, and snacks. Groups were separated based on groups leader training. One group received a caring climate curriculum while other received the standard PYD curriculum. N = 353
Age 9–17
(Mean = 12.18)
Quantitative, two-group, cross-sectional Multivariate and univariate tests of covariance Caring, perceived motivational climate, empathic concern, enjoyment, anticipated future participation Efficacy: Caring group participants reported a higher level of perceived caring climate and lower level of perceived ego-oriented climate. Those in the caring group reported higher empathic concern and an increased likelihood for future involvement. Weak Evidence of selection bias; non-blinded measures; lack of control for confounding variables; no information reported on dropouts; post-test only design
Riciputi et al. (2016) Participants attended a 4-week summer PYD through PA program for 6.5 h per day. N = 24
Age 8–14
Qualitative, case study Thematic analysis Character, perceptions of program impact Process: Program seen as a safe place where youth can build high-quality and reciprocal relationships.
Efficacy: Participants discussed intrapersonal improvement (e.g., empowerment, values, behavior) and understanding of moral reasoning. Negative cases presented of three students not adhering to character concepts.
Philosophical underpinnings consistent with theory and method used in study Use of grounded theory analysis techniques without completing a grounded theory study
Riley & Anderson-Butcher (2012) Participants attended a 4-week summer PYD through PA program for 6 h per day. N = 10
Age 31–58
Qualitative, general Grounded theory approach Camp outcomes for youth participants from parent perspective Efficacy: Parents reported the camp provided general levels of biopsychosocial development, opportunities to explore broader horizons, and enhanced levels of psycho-social skills. Parents also reported having peace of mind knowing child was at program. Lack of methodological coherence Philosophical assumptions and specific methodology not reported; data analysis was a “grounded theory approach” but this was not consistent with study methodology
Riley et al. (2017; Riley, 2013) Participants attended a 4-week sport-based PYD summer camp for 6 h per day. N = 23 Staff
N = 329 Youth
Age 9–15 (youth)
Quantitative, single group pre-post Multi-level modeling (youth outcomes nested within coach groups) Social skills, youth-perceived staff practices Efficacy: Self-control had a small (d = .29) but statistically significant increase from pre to post test. No statistical changes were noted in externalizing behaviors. Perceived emotional support was significantly related to perceived self-control (b = 1.13; p = .001); neither emotional support or autonomy support was predictive of reductions in externalizing behaviors. Weak Evidence of selection bias; lack of comparison group; non-blinded outcomes
Ullrich-French & McDonough (2013) Participants attended a 4-week summer PYD through PA program for 6 h per day. Participants had to complete Year 1 of the summer PYD program and be eligible to come back in Year 2. N = 215
Age 8–13
(Mean = 11.6)
Quantitative, single group, longitudinal Logistic regression, multivariate analysis of covariance Leader support, social competence, physical competence, self-worth, attraction to PA, hope Efficacy: BMI (OR = 0.91), self-worth (OR = 2.15), program attendance (OR = 1.49), and perceptions of leader support (OR = 1.70) increased the likelihood that participants returned the following year. Weak Lack of data from those non-returners; lack of blinded outcome measures
Ullrich-French et al. (2012) Participants attended a 4-week summer PYD through PA program for 6 h per day. N = 197
Age 9–16
(Mean = 11.8)
Quantitative, single group Repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance Leader support, social competence, physical competence, self-worth, attraction to PA, hope Efficacy: Perceived social competence, perceived physical competence, physical self-worth, and global self-worth increased from pre to post program; no other variables showed change. Results were moderated by age, with older children experiencing more benefit from the program. Weak Lack of control group; lack of blinded outcome measures; short intervention and follow-up period
Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility
Cryan & Martinek (2017) Intervention was an after-school soccer program grounded in TPSR principles. Participants attended the program 2 hours per day, 2 days per week, for 9 weeks. N = 14
Age = 11–12
Mixed methods, single group pre-post Deductive analysis; dependent t-test Personal and social responsibility Efficacy: There were no within group differences reported for personal responsibility, however within group improvements of social responsibility were noted. Qualitative data suggests that initiative and teacher-student relationships improved during the program. Teacher interviews suggest an increase in classroom behavior. Weak; lack of coherence Single group study; small sample size; selection bias; inconsistent attendance during intervention; non-blinded outcomes
Hayden et al. (2012; Hayden, 2010) Intervention was a school-based program that used life skills programming and physical activity within the TPSR model. Students met twice per week for 1 hour over the course of the school year. N = 63
Age = 9-12th grade
Qualitative, program evaluation Content analysis; descriptive statistics TPSR implementation, academics, social-emotional supports Process: Data suggest that TPSR components of integration, transfer, empowerment, and teacher-student relationships were followed.
Efficacy: Students perceived increased effort in the classroom, increased positive communication with teachers, increased desire for academic accountability, increased effort in sport, increased sense of belonging, a sense of being a role model, accountability to teammates, and more care from adults. Advisors reported increased effort in the classroom along with increased participation and social-emotional development in the sport context (leadership, empowerment, boundaries, and healthy risk-taking).
Coherence between theory, methods, and analysis. No philosophical assumptions discussed Lack of female participants; lack of differentiation between researcher and advisor roles; disconnect between cultural norms of key stakeholders
Jacobs (2016a) Intervention was school-based and conducted within a volleyball unit of a physical education curriculum using TPSR principles. The study lasted 15 days. N = 122
Age = 11–14
Quantitative, quasi-experimental Factorial analysis of variance Youth experience, transfer of life skills Efficacy: No group x time differences were reported for transfer of life skills. No effect on YES subscales for identity reflection, diverse peer relations, group processing skills, feedback leadership, and responsibility. Significant differences in youth experiences reported for: identity experiences (small effect .037), goal setting (small effect .043), effort (small effect .042), problem solving (moderate effect .108), time management (small effect, .06), emotional regulation (small effect .054), physical skills (moderate effect .102), prosocial norms (moderate effect .068); no effect on YES subscales for identity reflection, diverse peer relations, group processing skills, feedback leadership, and responsibility. Weak Lack of control for possible confounding variables; non-blinded outcomes; high risk for type I statistical error given the amount of analyses
Jacobs (2016b) This qualitative paper examined program experiences in a community-based sport organization. N = 11
Ages 12–18
Qualitative, phenomeno-graphic Deductive analysis Perceptions of life skill transfer, youth cognitive processes Efficacy: Participants discussed personal impact of sport program, social responsibility, life skill development, and situational insights. Lack of methodological coherence Short interviews; lack of consistent methodology; highly deductive coding procedure
Martinek et al. (2006) TPSR-based program in which youth leaders create physical activity lessons that reinforce life skills. Length, duration, and intensity of intervention were not reported. N = 4
Age 14–17
Qualitative, case study Case description Developmental stages of youth leadership Efficacy: Stage 1 is composed of needs-based leadership, Stage 2 is composed of planning and teaching, Stage 3 is composed of reflective leadership, and Stage 4 is composed of compassionate leadership. Lack of methodological coherence Philosophical assumptions, sampling strategy, sample description, data analysis methods, and validity assessments not reported
Melendez & Martinek (2015) Intervention used sport clubs grounded in TPSR principles, mentoring, and youth leadership training. Intervention length, frequency, and intensity were not reported. N = 5
Age = not reported
Qualitative, multiple case study Deductive analysis Program experiences Efficacy: TPSR values deemed important to participants’ lives. Learned the value of helping others and leadership; however, the specific leadership program was not influential in teaching respect and caring values. Philosophical assumptions, theory, and methods showed coherence Small sample and lack of data regarding skills learned outside of program; deductive analysis
Miller (1997) Intervention was school-based and conducted within a physical education course. Those in the intervention group participated in a TPSR-based socio-moral growth curriculum for 2 hours a day, 3 days a week, for 28 weeks. N = 58
Age = 10–11
Quantitative, quasi-experimental Analysis of co-variance Distributive justice reasoning, perceived competence Efficacy: Results showed significant differences when controlling for pre-test scores on DJR favoring the treatment group (p < .05). Examination of improvement rates showed an absolute benefit increase of 26.6%, a relative benefit increase of 83.13%, and an NNT of 4–5; differences were also reported between groups for behavioral PC (p < .004), but not for athletic competence; no differences were found for perceptions of task or ego climate between groups. Strong Floor and ceiling effects of the TEOSQ prevented meaningful analysis of that data
Schilling et al. (2007) Intervention was a youth-led TPSR program that met 1 day per week throughout the school year and for 3 weeks in the summer. N = 12
Age 13–18
(Mean = 16.7)
Qualitative, general Inductive and deductive analysis Youth perceptions of program and program commitment Process: Antecedents to commitment: program environment, program structure, relationship, personal characteristics. Barriers to commitment: program logistics and structure, personal factors. Nature of commitment: behavior and emotional involvement. Lack of methodological coherence No specific philosophical or methodological underpinnings
Walsh (2008) TPSR-based career club program in which sport is used to teach responsibility and older and younger participants are paired to work within a mentoring relationship. Program met once per week, for 90 min, across a 9-week timespan. N = 12
7th and 8th grade
Qualitative, case study Inductive analysis Employment, education Efficacy: Participants reported the importance of having to work hard and stay focused, increased communication skills, clarity about the future, determination, ability to see path to goals, and increased effort and performance in school. Conflicting paradigms of subjectivity and objectivity noted Perceptions of employment not tied to actual employment outcomes
Walsh et al. (2010) TPSR-based coaching club intervention that included 45 sessions over two academic school years. Sessions were provided once a week for one hour. N = 13 youth
N = 3 adult leaders
Age = 9–11
Qualitative, program evaluation Inductive and deductive analysis Transfer of TPSR goals Efficacy: Transfer of respect to the school environment; transfer of self- and emotional control in the school yard; worked harder in school; took more ownership over action in school; helped others and learned how to be an example for others outside of the program. Coherence between philosophical assumptions and sampling strategy Authors discuss grounded theory analysis techniques, but did not conduct a grounded theory study
Walsh et al. (2012) Kinesiology Career Club is a TPSR-based program aimed at helping high school youth explore future careers in kinesiology. Program met within a school setting, twice per week for 75 min over a 10- to 12-week period. N = 14
Ages = 14–15
Qualitative, program evaluation Inductive and deductive analysis Impact of KCC Efficacy: Results discussed helping participants connect TPSR goals to possible futures, envisioning and exploring a career in Kinesiology, and helping to balance hopes and fears. Methodology, data collection, and data analysis showed coherence Lack of philosophical underpinnings
Walsh et al. (2015) Kinesiology Career Club is a TPSR-based program aimed at helping high school youth explore future careers in kinesiology. Program met within a school setting, twice per week for 75 min over a 10- to 12-week period. N = 8 Qualitative, case study Inductive and deductive analysis Mentors perceptions of KCC Efficacy: Results discussed positive perceptions of KCC goals and the ability of the program to transfer program goals to participants’ possible future selves. Methodology, data collection, and data analysis showed coherence Lack of philosophical underpinnings
Whitley et al. (2016) TPSR-based program developed to address the challenges faced by refugee youth. Program met once per week for 60 min (number of weeks was not reported). N = 16
Age 10–18
Qualitative, methodology not explicitly reported Hierarchical content analysis Program experiences Process: Themes discussed included having fun, experiencing sports, being a member of a team, and developing a relationship with adults.
Efficacy: Additional themes were learning sports, learning about respect, teamwork, and leadership, and transferring learning outside of program.
Lack of methodological coherence Philosophical assumptions, methodology, and sampling strategy not explicitly addressed
Whitley et al. (2017) TPSR model used to develop an 8-session program in collaboration between Southern Queens Park Association and Adelphi University. Visit to Adelphi University during 3rd and 10th week of programming to introduce participants to higher education, attend a class, dinner at campus cafeteria, meeting with admissions representative, and a sport event. N = 7 youth participants
Age = 11.86
Qualitative, community-based participatory research Inductive and deductive analysis Program implementation and youth development outcomes Process: Program climate and leader/mentor strategies identified as key to outcomes.
Efficacy: Skills learned, skills transferred, and intention to transfer personal and social responsibility, effort, self-regulation, leadership, empowerment, increase physical activity interest and experience, improved physical abilities.
Methodological coherence Small sample size; limited program space; deductive nature of the analysis
Wright & Burton (2008) Intervention was a school-based Tai Chi program grounded in TPSR principles and conducted within a physical education course. Program met twice per week for 50 min over a 10-week timeframe. N = 23
Age = 14.8
Qualitative, program evaluation Inductive and deductive analysis Program characteristics Process: Results discussed establishing a relevant curriculum, practicing life skills within program, seeing the potential to practice life skills outside of program, and creating a valued program. Coherence between framework, methodology, and analysis Lack of philosophical underpinnings to study; reliance on deductive coding
Wright et al. (2010) Intervention was school-based and conducted within a physical education course. Those in the intervention group received a Tai Chi intervention grounded in TPSR principles for approximately 18 weeks. N = 122 (sub-sample of 11 interviewed in a focus group) Age 14–18
(Mean = 14.8)
Mixed methods, quasi-experimental, program evaluation Inductive and deductive analysis; descriptive Grades, tardiness, absences, conduct Efficacy: No significant group differences reported. Grades dropped for both groups, but slightly more for the control group; Absences increased in both groups. There was an increase in positive behavior and decrease in negative behavior reported in relation to the control group; however, these differences were not reported to be statistically significant. Qualitative data suggested youth perceived improvement in the TPSR levels. Weak; framework, methodology, and methods were coherent. Data analysis limited the results Selection bias; unclear blinding protocols; gender differences not explored; study restricted to one school; lack of control for known co-variates; deductive qualitative analysis
Wright et al. (2012) TPSR-based Kung-Fu program that took place at a local YMCA. Program met once per week for 45–60 min across an academic school year. N = 4
Age = 10–13
Qualitative, case study Inductive and deductive analysis Program experiences Process: Overall positive program perceptions were discussed.
Efficacy: Case profiles discuss lessons learned and skills developed for each participant.
Methodology, data collection, and data analysis showed coherence Lack of philosophical underpinnings; lack of rich data
Girls on the Run
Beller (2013) Participants engaged in a 12-week program that meets twice per week for 1.5 h per session. The program combines training for a 5k with a positive youth development curricula. The curricula includes self-awareness and self-care (part 1), teambuilding, cooperation, and community building (part 2), and social contribution (part 3). N = 209
High school-aged
Quantitative, case-control Tests of group difference (t-test, ANOVA, chi-square) Body image satisfaction, PA Efficacy: No differences in body image satisfaction between those in GOTR and those not in GOTR; no differences in PA engagement either. Weak Self-reported PA data; selection bias; retrospective design; lack of control for potential confounding variable; non-blinded measures
Debate (2002) See above. N = 322
Age = 10
Quantitative, single group Dependent t-test Self-esteem, body image satisfaction, eating attitudes and behaviors Efficacy: Significant improvements reported in self-esteem, body size satisfaction, and eating behaviors. Weak Single-group study; lack of control for confounding variables; self-reported outcomes
Debate & Delmar (2006) See above. N = 282
Age = 10.47
Quantitative, single group Pre-post differences (t-test, Wilcoxon test) Self-esteem, body image satisfaction, eating attitudes and behaviors, attitudes towards PA, empowerment, self-reported PA Efficacy: Significant improvements reported in self-esteem, body size satisfaction, and PA behaviors, and some healthy eating and empowerment items. Weak Single-group study; lack of control for confounding variables; self-reported outcomes; different levels of exposure
Debate & Otero-Fisher (2005) See above. N = 157
Age = 10.25
Quantitative, single group pre-post Pre-post differences (t-test, Wilcoxon test) Self-esteem, body image satisfaction, eating attitudes and behaviors, attitudes towards PA, empowerment, self-reported PA Efficacy: Significant improvements reported in self-esteem, body size satisfaction, and PA behaviors. Weak Single-group study; lack of control for confounding variables; self-reported outcomes
Debate et al. (2009) See above. N = 1034
Age 8–15
Quantitative, single group Dependent t-test Self-esteem, body size satisfaction, PA, PA commitment Efficacy: Significant pre-post differences reported for self-esteem, body size satisfaction, and PA frequency. Weak Single-group study; large amounts of missing data; use of partial measures could question validity; unclear blinding protocols
Pettee Gabriel et al. (2011) See above. N = 877
Age 9–11
Quantitative, quasi-experimental Repeated measures analysis of covariance Self-esteem, body size satisfaction, PA, PA commitment Efficacy: No group x time interaction effects were found for self-esteem, body size discrepancy, or PA commitment. Differences were noted in PA levels: those never exposed and newly exposed had greater change in PA scores at follow-up. Weak Selection bias due to low enrollment, non-blinded outcomes; data collected in one school district could confound results; possible seasonal differences in PA; inconsistent administration of survey data
Rauscher et al. (2013) See above. N = 138
Age 8–14
(Mean = 10.5)
Mixed methods, single group, formative evaluation Inductive content analysis; dependent t-test Body consciousness, body esteem, nutrition, self-efficacy, attitude toward PA and mentorship Process: Participants and coaches were uncomfortable with body-conscious conversations, discrepancies between messages sent (need for “good body”) and program goals.
Efficacy: Small but significant effects for pre-post body consciousness and body esteem. Healthy girl was defined as physically active, confident, good looking, thin, fit, strong, and nice.
Weak; lack of methodological coherence Selection bias; lack of reporting on withdraws; non-blinded outcomes; qualitative data lacked depth
Waldron (2007) See above. N = 34 (sub-sample of 8 for qualitative interviews) Mean age = 11.51 Mixed methods, single group Dependent t-test; grounded theory coding Perceived competence, program experiences Efficacy: Small but significant effects for pre-post perceived social competence, perceived physical competence, and perceived physical appearance competence. Qualitative data suggest increases in self-worth, social support, and perceived competence. Weak; lack of methodological coherence Single-group study; selection bias; non-blinded outcomes; small sample size; use of grounded theory coding, without grounded theory methodology
Playworks
Beyler et al. (2013); Fortson et al. (2013); London et al. (2013) See above. N = 2331 student surveys; N = 296 teacher surveys; N = 1579 accelerometry data Randomized controlled trial, cross-sectional analysis only (i.e., post-intervention comparison) Multi-level regression models Physical activity, school climate, student behavior Efficacy: Children at Playworks schools had significantly higher levels of: (a) physical activity, (b) teacher-reported safety and inclusion, and (c) student-reported positive behavior and attention in class than those at control schools. Teachers also reported lower levels of bullying and transition difficulty. No differences were reported in youth development, children perceptions of safety, teacher-reported classroom behavior, or academic outcomes Strong Single time point measurement; limited accelerometry data
London et al. (2015) See above. N = 6 schools. Principal, recess coach, teacher interviews, recess observations at multiple time points, and student focus groups at each school Qualitative, program evaluation Grounded theory approach Recess climate Efficacy: Playworks implementation resulted in a higher quality recess. Higher-quality recess sessions contained higher levels of students initiating and sustaining games, higher levels of inclusion, higher levels of female participation, more positive language, less conflict and bullying, stronger connection to recess coach, and more teachers on the playground. Partial methodological coherence; incongruence between study design and analysis techniques (i.e., grounded theory) Lack of participant descriptions; unclear use of grounded theory methodology/analysis
Madsen et al. (2011) School-based program in which full-time trained coaches work in schools and teach and coordinate a variety of playground sports and games; work with classroom teachers to provide additional PA opportunities; provide a peer leadership program; and work to generate family and community involvement. N = 13,109 fifth-grade students Quantitative, quasi-experimental, retrospective time series Mixed effects linear regression Internal and external assets as assessed by the California Healthy Kids Survey Efficacy: With each additional year of exposure to Playworks, students reported significantly higher scores in PA, meaningful participation in school, problem solving skills, and goal aspirations; effects reported were small but clinically meaningful when considered across time and within the context of percentile rank. Strong Retrospective design; lack of control over data collection processes
Massey et al. (2017) See above. N = 450 children in observations; N = 21 children in classroom observations;
N = 77 children in focus groups
Mixed methods, quasi-experimental, program evaluation Repeated measures analysis of variance; factorial ANOVA; interpretive content analysis Adult-student playground interactions, playground behavior, classroom behavior Process: Playworks schools had significantly more positive adult-student interactions and significantly less conflict on the playground than a non-intervention comparison.
Efficacy: Classroom data showed those in the peer leadership program improved their behavior relative to a control group.
Moderate, partial methodological coherence Lack of comparison group at baseline for observations; non-randomized design; small sample for classroom observations; lack of detail on philosophical underpinnings and sampling strategy
Massey et al. (2018) See above. N = 77 Playworks Junior Coaches; N = 13 Playworks coaches Qualitative, program evaluation Interpretive content analysis Leadership Process and Efficacy: Participants discussed various aspects of leadership and how that influenced the decision to become a junior coach, the role of a junior coach, training received, and developmental impacts as a result of the experience. Partial methodological coherence Lack of detail on philosophical underpinnings and sampling strategy
The First Tee
Brunelle et al. (2007) Intervention was a condensed 1-week (5 sessions of 45 min each) version of The First Tee program that combines golf lessons with life skill development. N = 100
Age 13–17
Quantitative, single group Repeated measures analysis of covariance; regression analysis Social responsibility, interpersonal reactivity, social interests, goals, community service Process: Whether or not individuals completed their community service requirement had a significant effect on empathic concern and social responsibility.
Efficacy: Authors noted significant pre-post (1 week) differences on social responsibility and goal knowledge. Gender and race were shown to moderate outcomes (girls showed greater increases in perspective-taking; being white was more predictive of social interests).
Weak No true control group; self-report measures; short intervention time-frame; large percentage of loss to follow-up
Weiss et al. (2013) Intervention consists of a program in which golf and life skills are taught in a systematic and progressive program that addresses interpersonal, self-management, goal setting, and advanced social skills. Program length, duration, or intensity was not reported. N = 95
Age 11–17
Qualitative, interpretive Inductive and deductive content analysis Interpersonal and self-management skills, transfer of skills to other domains Efficacy: Identified skill development in meeting and greeting others, showing respect, and emotion management within and outside of the program. Methodological coherence from theory to method to analysis Philosophical assumptions to study not addressed
Weiss et al. (2016) See above. N1 = 564 (405 in First Tee group)
N2 = 192 (Longitudinal sample)
Age 10–17
Quantitative, longitudinal, quasi-experimental Multivariate analysis of covariance (group difference); latent growth modeling (intervention group only)   Efficacy: Data show significant group differences (when controlling for parent education and SES) on 5/8 life skill transfer domains and 6/8 developmental outcome domains. Longitudinal data showed that 3 life skills increased over time (with increased exposure to the program): meeting and greeting, appreciating diversity, and getting help. Those who entered the program with the lowest scores for life skills gained the most improvement over time. Moderate Non-blinded outcomes; unclear sampling procedures in Study 1; baseline differences in groups in Study 1
Play It Smart
Petitpas et al. (2004) Program is grounded in a life skills development framework and implemented through a coordinated effort of academic coaches (working 20 h per week to coordinate), parents, school personnel, and community leaders. N = 252
Age 14–18
Quantitative, single group, longitudinal Descriptive statistics ACT/SAT scores, GPA, community service, self-reported health behaviors Efficacy: Program participants saw in increase in GPA from 2.16 to 2.64. 98% of seniors in program graduated on time and 83% went to college. Participants engaged in 1745 h of community service. Weak Lack of methodological detail to judge the rigor of the data
Van Gorden et al. (2010) See above. N = 1361 Qualitative, general Grounded theory coding Life skills Efficacy: Data from exit interviews showed that youth in the program perceived that they developed life schools, had academic and athletic accomplishments, engaged in community service, built relationships with important others, and had a more positive outlook on life. Lack of methodological coherence Data from exit interviews that were administered by academic coach; lack of philosophical or methodological underpinning
Urban Squash
Green (2010) Intervention is an academic sports mentoring program. Participants attend 3 days per week for 3 h each day (90 min of homework, 90 min of squash) across the school year. N = 46
6th and 7th grade
Quantitative, quasi-experimental Analysis of covariance Intellectual functioning, academic functioning, academic achievement Efficacy: No differences reported for academic engagement between groups. Intervention group showed significant improvements in reading and writing but not math. Intervention group reported significantly higher gains in GPA than control group. Achievement status did not moderate results. Moderate Small sample; high attrition rate; lack of power for number of analyses
Hemphill & Richards (2016) See above. N = 21 youth
N = 13 staff
Youth were in 6th – 8th grade
Qualitative, program evaluation Descriptive statistics; grounded theory coding Valued aspects of program, how outcomes may have transferred out of program Efficacy: Results focused on academic enrichment, academic transfer, relationships, and a focus on personal and social responsibility. Methodology, sampling and data collection consistent Lack of philosophical underpinnings to study; use of grounded theory analysis without doing a grounded theory study
Hill (2012) See above. N = 111
Age = 11–14
Quantitative, quasi-experimental Repeated measures analysis of variance Intellectual functioning, academic functioning, academic achievement, social support Efficacy: No differences found between groups on academic engagement, individual academic skills (math, oral language), or social support. Total academic achievement scale improved slightly for intervention group, but not control group. Moderate Lack of specificity in measurement; attrition rate; small sample
Coach Across America
LPHI (2016a; 2016b) Up2Us Sports is a national coalition of more than 1000 organizations committed to using sports for social change. Striving to harness the power of sports to reduce youth violence and promote health and academic success, Up2Us Sports organizes nationwide community training programs. Approximately 1000 participants in older group and approximately 1100 in younger group Mixed methods, quasi-experimental; qualitative general Analysis of covariance; hierarchical linear regression modeling; content analysis Fitness, high impact attributes (HIA), self-reported nutrition, coach quality, dose Process: More time with coaches was related to outcomes, but coach quality was a negative predictor of HIA in younger children.
Efficacy: Results showed program participants significantly improved their fitness level. Data on HIA and nutrition were mixed, with a greater effect for younger participants.
Moderate; lack of methodological coherence Unclear information on missing data; lack of control for confounding variables
Windham et al. (2014) See above. N = 6288
N = 2229 pre-post surveys
Quantitative, single group Hierarchical linear regression Self-reported physical activity, self-reported nutrition behaviors, HIA Efficacy: Significant effects reported for increased PA. Results on nutrition and HIA were mixed (improvements on 2/6 nutrition items; improvements on 2/8 HIA). Weak Large amounts of missing data; no information on reliability or validity of measures; unclear blinding procedures
Doc Wayne
D’Andrea et al. (2013) This intervention took place within a trauma treatment facility. Coaches were trained to deliver trauma-sensitive sports, and the sport program took place once per week, for 1 hour, over a 5-month period. N = 88
Age = 12–21
Quantitative, quasi-experimental Repeated measures analysis of variance Behavior within the program, mental health Efficacy: Significant effects for restraints, timeouts needed, internalizing behavior, and externalizing behavior were reported in favor of the treatment group. Weak Likely selection bias; unclear description of control for possible confounding variables; unclear blinding procedures; lack of reliability reported for observational measures
Program Evaluation Report (n.d.) Trauma-informed sport league for youth in residential treatment. Timing, duration, and dosage not reported. N = 53 Quantitative, single group Pre-post effect sizes Life goals, social conflicts, emotional regulation, behavior, stress, challenges Efficacy: Compared to youth not in the sport league, those in the sport league reported less personal distress and more perspective taking, higher levels of emotional regulation, higher social cognition, and higher heart rate variability. Weak Likely selection bias; unclear description of control for possible confounding variables; unclear blinding procedures; lack of reliability reported for observational measures; missing data
Sport Hartford
Bruening et al. (2015) Mentor-based program that incorporated sport, physical activity, nutrition, and life skills. Sessions were twice a week for 2 hours over a 28-week period. N = 5
Age = 12–15
Qualitative, general Deductive analysis Factors that influence program outcomes Process: Active participation and planning, connection to community, sense of belonging, trust, information channels, norms, and sanctions. Coherence between theory, method, and analysis Lack of philosophical underpinnings
Bruening et al. (2009) Mentor-based program that incorporated sport, physical activity, nutrition, and life skills. Sessions were once a week for 2 hours over a 12-week period. N = 8
Age = 9–13
Qualitative, multiple case study Unclear Behavior change, views of self, views on health Efficacy: Results discussed feelings of self-esteem and self-worth, accountability and responsibility, connection to community, sense of belonging, knowledge and acquisition of health and life skills, application of skills, and planning and recognizing one’s influence on self and others. Lack of methodological coherence Age and developmental ranges of participants; lack of philosophical underpinnings, theory, and specific analytical procedures
Fuller et al. (2013) Mentor-based program that incorporated sport, physical activity, nutrition, and life skills. Sessions were once a week for 2 hours over 2 12-week periods. N = 8
Age = 10–14
Qualitative, methodology not explicitly reported Deductive analysis Program evaluation Process: Results discussed reasons for initial participation (curiosity, excitement, opportunity to play sports) and reasons for continued participation (fun, field trips, novelty and exposure, stayed out of trouble).
Efficacy: Results also discussed positive developmental outcomes (confidence, connection, character, contribution).
Coherence between theory, method, and analysis Three of 8 participants were brothers; lack of philosophical underpinning; deductive analytic procedures
  1. While 61 articles are listed in this table, 5 studies were presented in multiple publications (e.g., dissertation and peer-reviewed article, full report and brief report); thus, these were considered duplicate documents