An Evaluation of Personal and Contextual Factors in Competitive Youth Sport
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Because millions of youth are involved in sport, the sport context is important to consider in advancing the growth experiences of young people (Cˆot´e et al., 2007; Fraser-Thomas et al., 2005). Furthermore, research in developmental psychology has highlighted the value of structured programs, including sport, in helping to promote positive youth development (Fredricks & Eccles, 2006). Youth sport involvement has been linked to high levels of enjoyment (Scanlan et al., 1989), however, negative outcomes, such as burnout, have also been reported (Gould et al., 1996). In the present study, the Developmental Assets Profile (Search Institute, 2004) was used to explore personal (internal assets) and contextual (external assets) outcomes associated with youth sport. Results suggest that three particular assets (positive identity, empowerment, and support) are important to focus on in youth sport programs to decrease burnout symptoms and enhance enjoyment. Path analyses were also conducted to test a proposed model and exploratory results confirmed links of particular assets to sport outcomes. The results are discussed in terms of integration with Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory (1999) and recommendations are suggested for sport programmers to consider to develop these assets within youth sport.