White Paper – l8tersk8ter

Working Hypothesis 1

Requiring teenagers during their first year at a high school to be an active member of a competitive team or club will result in increased self-esteem of teenagers.

Purposeful Summaries

Team Sports Achievement and Self-Esteem Development Among Urban Adolescent Girls

Pederson and Seidman investigated the effect of team sports on the developing adolescent self-esteem. It was hypothesized and proven that the self-perception of success in a team sport can be connected to the global self-esteem of teen girls. Often around the age of adolescence girls begin to drift from avid sports participation. They often try to fit a more feminine role as they are developing young girls try to find their way in fit in. They also may have a negative self-evaluation of their sports capabilities, even if they had been playing sports prior. When they teen girls did get involved in sports their self-evaluations increased to a more positive nature. This was due to many factors, such as coach appraisal, contribution to success, feelings of self-accomplishment, and things of that nature. This was a constant finding across race/ethnicity and evaluated in those of low socioeconomic status. The positive sport self-evaluation led to an increase in general positive self-esteem.

Do Youth Learn Life Skills Through Their Involvement in High School Sport? A Case Study

In the Canadian Journal of Education the claim is made that skills that come from athletic [participation also are important life skills for healthy development of adolescents. The SUPER program, Sports United to Promote Education and Recreation, was created to develop sports skills alongside the life skills that are found useful day to day. This intervention resulted in increased positive thinking, among other things. High school sport participation was found to be associated with the ability to have good emotional regulation.

The study conducted follows the participation of high school soccer athletes and resulting life skill lessons. Two fieldworkers were delved into the environment the athletes were in both on the field and in their school. They observed practices and games, paying attention to the coaches interactions with players and specific incidents that platers seemed to learn life lessons from. One evaluated aspect was the athletic codes that everyone had to follow. These codes often pertained to proper sportsmanship and encouraged positive involvement in the sport. Theses codes of conduct spoke to the character of the players and indirectly taught them lessons of proper behavior. Another focus was on the coaches approach and philosophy towards coaching. The coach in this study worked towards developing personal relationships with the players. He found it important to know that even when one cannot change a situation, they can change their attitude about the situation. Lessons that were observed to be learned through the team sport are initiative, respect, and teamwork/leadership.

Social Anxiety Among Adolescents: Linkages with Peer Relations and Friendships

Adolescent anxiety is a new age topic that still has a lot of investigating warranted. This topic is investigated in a study done by Annette M. La Greca and Nadja Lopez. Prior anxiety measures were based off of an adult population, which varies from teenagers in many ways. A major important factor in development of adolescent social functioning is having close friendships. These relationships result in emotional support, intimacy, and expression of emotions, to name just a few, that are essential in the emotional development of a teenager. Having someone that you are close with makes you feel like you are not an outsider and will help prevent shying away from social interactions. Among girls, it was found that anxieties stem from wanting to be accepted and supported by peers. Most other anxieties were found pertaining to social perceptions. Boys were found to be less vulnerable to the anxieties.

The Social and Psychological Importance of Self-Esteem

Mark R Leary states in his chapter of the book The social psychology of emotional and behavioral problems: Interfaces of social and clinical psychology that there are three assumptions made by psychologists across the board about self-esteem. It is universally accepted that people want to enhanced self-esteem, it is more desirable to have a high self-esteem, and raising a low self-esteem can improve the well mental wellbeing of a person.

It is human nature to want to maintain a positive self-esteem. No one enjoys feeling bad about themselves or like they are lesser than another. People take actions towards elevating their self-esteem even in times of failure when it could be most negatively impacted. Low self-esteem is more associated with psychological difficulties instead of the favored psychological wellbeing. People that have a high self-esteem have been found to have better social skills, be more adaptive, and have overall more socially acceptable interactions.

A School-Level Analysis of Adolescent Extracurricular Activity, Delinquency, and Depression: The Importance of Situational Context

In an analysis of adolescent extracurricular activity, Andrew M. Guest and Nick McRee state that around seventy-five percent of youths 7-12 grade participate in at least one extracurricular during the school year. This is a large percentage of kids, and while these activities may not all be competitive, that’s only twenty-five percent that would have to change from doing nothing to being involved. As to everything in life there can be good and bad sides to being involved, and the variation can rely on social context. There’s is a contradictory nature between extracurricular activities and delinquency, in which the first can both increase and decrease the latter. The same is applied with the connection to depression, where both positive and negative outcomes are situationally created.

This study looked into these connections between extracurriculars and both delinquency and depression. There was found to be no consistent measure and the variance was highly context based. It is not about what activity is being participated in, but rather how it is being conducted. There needs to be caution because these activities have the opportunity to seriously have a negative impact on adolescence. This can be combatted by aiming focus towards positive youth development. If activities are carefully constructed and supervised they can maximize the positive outcomes. Making sure to eliminate factors that can cause problems can be effective. This also includes teaching how to deal with hurdles that may need to be overcome and not necessarily just making sure everything is prefect one hundred percent of the time.

Topics for Smaller Papers


Discuss the emotional/mental vulnerability at the ages of adolescents, a time where they find who they are and the importance of falling onto a positive path of development.


The effect of a team environment on teen self esteem

The different factors of being part of AND contributing to a team

How competition can increase a positive self image


A possible argument that can be made against my hypothesis is that forcing adolescents into a social situation could have detrimental results for those that have social anxiety, disabilities, or other factors that may cause them stress in that situation.

Another possible argument could be that there are other clubs/activities that promote social development and positive self esteem that are not competitive in nature.

Current State of Research

I think I have a good start on my research. Sources are a little difficult to find, but I know that there’s a lot more out there that will be beneficial to me. I did change my hypothesis from what I was originally planning and I am very happy I made that decision. I think this current topic is already revealing aspects to me that I want to expand on that I was not originally thinking about. There is a big psychology side to this topic so I just want to make sure to check myself and not delve too deep-down unrelated rabbit hole. Overall, I’m happy with the progress that I made and look forward to finding more research to both support and refute my hypothesis.

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