June 2017

Sport, dance and young people

Sport, dance and young people
In partnership with


What impact does sport and dance participation have on young people’s wellbeing? How can we turn the evidence into action?

Taking part in physical activity like sport and dance can be good for our wellbeing. It makes us more satisfied and happier with life, and feel less anxious and depressed.

However, most of what we know is about adults. This briefing is based on a systematic review that was carried out to investigate how taking part in sport and dance affects the subjective wellbeing of healthy young people between 15 and 24 years. Subjective wellbeing describes the good and bad feelings that arise from what people do and think: feelings like happiness or sadness, meaningfulness or futility, relaxation or stress.

The review covers all published studies from the past 10 years. We also examined unpublished reports produced by, or for, sport and dance organisations since 2013.

We carried out some detailed analysis of survey data to understand if young people who participated in sport and dance have higher wellbeing, and what this may be due to.

Having a laugh and a great time while playing sport in the park helps mentally.

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What are the key findings?

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