The Development of a Sport-Based Life Skills Scale for Youth to Young Adults

Hillary Cauthen, Your Sports Mind, USA

Theme: Life skills/learning strategies (includes coping)

Program ID: LEC-03C

Presentation: October 2, 2013 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Room: Oak Alley


Life skill programs were created to impact the growth and development of the individual, provide support, increase sense of self-worth and opportunities to become confident, connected, competent, and caring (Junge, Manglallan, & Raskauskas, 2003; Roth & Brooks-Gunn, 2003). Currently, life skill programs are evaluated by the practitioners that implement the program. However, a systematic evaluation is needed for researchers to assist in tracking life skill development (Baily & Dean, 2002). Evaluations are needed to aid in the advancement of positive youth development programs as they will provide feedback to participants, program coordinators, and scholars about the quantity and quality of programs and their relationship to positive youth development among adolescents (Zarret et al., 2009). The purpose of this study was to develop a sport-based life skills scale that assesses 20 life skills: goal setting, time management, communication, coping, problem solving, leadership, critical thinking, teamwork, self-discipline, decision making, planning, organizing, resiliency, motivation, emotional control, patience, assertiveness, empathy, responsibility, and reliability in youth to young adults ages 11-23. The sample consisted of 18-23 year old, male and female, Division 1 student athletes across the U.S. The athletes reported on the frequency with which their sport participation had taught a variety of life skills. In total data were collected from 640 participants (178 males, 453 females, Mage=19.7, age range 18-23, grade range freshman-5th year senior). A majority (96%) of the participants reported learning life skills through sport. Using exploratory factor analytic methods, the resulting sport-based life skills scale represented the 6 hypothesized life skill: constructs: goal setting, time management, communication, coping, problem solving, and leadership. Additional analyses examined knowledge of life skills, life skills learned through sport, and where participants learn life skills. Implications and practical applications of these results as well as future research direction will be discussed.

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