2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Jesse Mala

Champion Schools
The Relationship of Sport and Physical Activity on Stress Regulation Among Youth in Poverty

Individuals living in poverty are exposed to greater amounts of adversity, resulting in greater levels of circulating stress hormones.  Elevated levels of stress hormones are associated with negative health outcomes including the early onset of heart disease, impaired brain development and early death.  Conversely, sport and physical activity participation have been shown to improve stress regulation.  Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine if sport and physical activity participation is related to greater stress regulation among youth in poverty.  To assess these relationships, salivary cortisol and a physical activity questionnaire were measured among participants (N = 149) in the 5th-8th grade from three schools located in districts of poverty in the northeast and the southwest of the United States.  The results revealed no statistically significant differences in morning or afternoon salivary cortisol among more active youth, when compared with less active youth (p > 0.05).  However, active youth had significantly different changes from their morning to afternoon salivary cortisol compared to less active youth (p < 0.05).  These findings support previous research that shows how sport and physical activity is associated with greater stress regulation, which has implications for health outcomes, particularly among youth in poverty.