By Lauren Kelly
As a student at Yarmouth High School, sports play a big role in our lives. Sports also have a huge impact on us and teach us many things, such as discipline and teamwork. Have you ever wondered what effect sports have on those with childhood trauma such as physical abuse or emotional neglect? Molly Easterlin, a pediatrician, asked herself that question.
As a child Molly Easrerlin played soccer, tennis, and did track. When she saw many kids with trauma she wondered if sports could help improve their lives. Many that experience childhood trauma are likely to have at least one Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are caused by traumatic events and contribute to social or physical problems that can range from obesity to chronic depression. 50% of people have had at least one ACE.
For her experiment, Molly Easterlin analyzed data from 9668 teens that were part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and about 5,000 teens reported at least one ACE. She first assessed the teens in 1994-1995, from 7th to 12th graders, and asked whether they planned to or already do participate in team sports. She assessed them a second time fourteen years later and asked whether they received a diagnosis for depression or anxiety. She even tested for symptoms in case he/she were not diagnosed. She then compared the results to those that did not participate in athletics and found that they were not as protected from depression or anxiety than those that did participate.
However, Molly Easterlin found that it was stronger for males and concluded that at the time of initial data collection female sports were not as well funded. Christina Bethell is a professor at Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University said that this was a useful study but additional factors should be considered. She states that the children with a more emotional connection with family may increase a person’s well-being. She also states the Molly Easterlin did not distinguish between those with one ACE and those with multiple ACEs and that those with more could be more affected.
Female sports are still not as well funded as males. From 2013 to 2014, girl sports received $17,933.67 while boys sports received $46,815.93. Many children sports teams use “pay to play.” By using pay to play, requires fees to play which limits lower-income kids that play and is used in many ways. Pay to play is allowed in 49 states.
Sports are very important to Yarmouth especially. Almost every student participates in a sport. Teens are even more at risk of developing depression or anxiety now then they were at the time of the experiment. Almost half of the population has an ACE which is a big number of people. As a student at Yarmouth, we are not very introduced to students that have these mentally illnesses. And it makes one wonder is it because of the amount of students that participate in athletics?
Neilson, S. (2019, May 29). Playing Teen Sports May Protect From Some Damages Of Childhood Trauma. Retrieved June 4, 2019, from https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/53739/playing-teen-sports-may-protect-from-some-damages-of-childhoo
Ms. Carrigan's Psych Class
We have been reading articles about psychological studies to inform the way we live our lives. Please explore, and we hope you learn a bit about the psychology in your life!