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Associations between organised sport participation and classroom behaviour outcomes among primary school-aged children

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posted on 01.01.2019, 00:00 authored by Amanda Watson, Anna TimperioAnna Timperio, Helen BrownHelen Brown, Trina Hinkley, Kylie HeskethKylie Hesketh
INTRODUCTION: Physical activity is positively associated with children's classroom behaviour. However, less is known about how different types of physical activity contribute to these outcomes. This study examines associations between sport participation and classroom behaviour among primary school-aged children. METHODS: Parents of 568 children aged 9-11 years reported child sport participation and classroom behaviour outcomes (school functioning, inattention, classroom behaviour (fidgetiness), acting without thinking and poor concentration). Sport participation included: duration (hours/week) and type (individual; team; team and individual). Regression analyses assessed associations between sport participation and classroom behaviour outcomes. Analyses adjusted for maternal education, and objectively-measured overall physical activity, and accounted for clustering by recruitment centre. Sex differences in associations were explored as a secondary aim. RESULTS: In comparison to children who did not participate in sport, children who participated in sport displayed less inattention/hyperactivity (individual sport: B = -1.00;95%CI:-1.90, -0.00; team sport:-0.88;95%CI:-1.73, -0.03) and less acting without thinking (individual sport: OR = 0.35;95%CI:0.13,0.98), after adjusting for overall physical activity. There were no sex differences in associations. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicated sport participation, one form of physical activity, was associated with less inattention/hyperactivity and acting without thinking, over and above the influence of overall physical activity levels. Parents may consider sport as one way to contribute to their child's overall physical activity levels, although the impact of organised sport on classroom behaviour is modest at best.



PLoS one





Article number



Public Library of Science


San Francisco, Calif.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, Watson et al.