Participation in sport programmes for marginalized people: improvements in psychosocial and life domains


  • K. Verkooijen
  • G. Abbott
  • S. Super


Background: Life Goals is a Dutch foundation that aims to use sports for the personal development of socially excluded people, such as homeless people, drug addicts, and ex-offenders. This study examined whether participation in two different sport programmes is associated with improvement in five psychosocial domains (i.e., health, self-reflection, emotional stability, self-management, and social skills), and three life domains (i.e., home situation, work/education, and leisure time). Methods: Self-report data were collected via an online monitoring system and included 89 participants (79.8% men, mean age: 28.6 years) with data collected at two points in time. Psychosocial domains were assessed with multiple items, and life domains with a single item. A mixed model tested for changes over time, while considering possible interactions with age, gender, programme type, and duration in the programme. Findings: Scores in all psychosocial and life domains showed significant increases over time. Few interaction effects were found. Remarkably, increases in health ratings were higher among players who had been shorter in the program. Further, players in the Dutch Street Cup showed an increase in self-management ratings, while players in the Dutch Trainee Cup program did not. Discussion: Socially excluded people appear to benefit from participation in the sport programmes. Improvements were found in all domains, and hardly relied on gender, age, program type and duration.





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