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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

Definition/Classification

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.

Cause/Effect

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

Rebuttal

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.

Revised Hypothesis

Requiring adolescents to participate in a competitive team activity will benefit their mental health and teach life and social skills

Self-Esteem

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

Sara Pederson, Edward Seidman

This case study evaluates the effect of team sports on the developing adolescent self-esteem. This is a topic of investigation because reports of self-esteem are particularly low during early adolescence for girls. Sports participation among girls is also seen to drop when they reach the age of adolescence. The first hypothesis is that team sports achievements in early adolescence will lead to higher global self-esteem later on. The second hypothesis is that association of achievement and self-esteem will come from the participants self-evaluation. The authors emphasize that the team aspect is a big contributor because it offers more characteristics that can help develop the girls self-evaluation and eventually self-esteem. The study focused on low-income girls, girls only to have limited variables, and low-income because this population is at high risk for falling involvement in sports once adolescence is reached. These girls were chosen from attending urban public schools with a high percentage of free/reduced lunches. Self-esteem was measured using a “test” with a scale in which the girls measured how opposing statements applied to them. The results are consistent with the hypotheses. Higher levels of achievement in team sports led to high self-reported self-esteem in general. They found a relationship between the nature of the team and the positive evaluation, rather than just the girls physical ability. The racial and ethnic backgrounds of the participants were found to be a non-variable. Some mechanisms that influenced the girls are awards, being team captain, and being successful. But while that didn’t happen for everyone, another mechanism that they did all experience is coaching. The positive affirmation from a coach or just having an adult mentor was beneficial to the girls enjoyment of the sport. This study found significant links between adolescent girls participating in team sports and their improvement of their self-perception and self-esteem.

The Social and Psychological Importance of Self-Esteem

Mark Leary

Psychologists across the board have three main assumptions about self-esteem. The first is that it is universally accepted that people want to enhance self-esteem. Human nature pushes us towards wanting to feel good about ourselves. The second is that it is more desirable to have a high self-esteem, once again wanting to feel good rather than bad. The third is that raising a low self-esteem can improve the well mental wellbeing of a person. Having a positive self-view can lead to a more positive mindset and improved mental health. People will take actions towards elevating their self-esteem even in times there is a risk 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.

Vulnerability

Assessing Mental Health in Vulnerable Adolescents

Holly R. Farley

Mental illness in adolescents has become a serious public health concern in the US as there has been shift in 21st century adolescent behaviors. Teenagers are 12% of the population, and 30% of them have reported symptoms of depression each year. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death between ages 10 and 24. The well-being of adolescents is increasingly important, making them a vulnerable group. Adolescence brings on psychological and physical changes that heighten the risk of mental illness.

A vulnerable population typically include ethnic minorities, low economic status, the LGBTQ+ community, people with a disability, or someone with a family history of mental illness. The group of adolescents fits into this because they are in a stage of development that affects their decision making and has increased reliability on others for support. There may always be never before experienced pressures from family and peers. Common mental health disorders that could emerge may be risk factors for suicide, such as anxiety and depression. Interaction with peers, or the lack of, are influencing factors. Discovering sexuality may come with confusion or stress that leads to negative behaviors. They also may be less willing to come forward about mental health issues that they are having.

Defining and Measuring Vulnerability in Young People

Deeraj Shah, et al.

This article defines vulnerability as the state or condition of being weak or poorly defended. It also establishes the age group of adolescents to be from 10 to 19 years old. During this time they explore new aspects of life, such as sexual identity and practices, which put them at risk for injury or violence. Young people become more vulnerable if they are at the hands of race, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), deprivation, violence, neglect, abuse, and other factors that aren’t listed. The most vulnerable are those susceptible to misfortune. There is more chance for something going wrong if their life isn’t the best to begin with. Some adolescents can be more at risk than their peers.

Social Anxiety/Phobia & Treatment

Social Anxiety Among Adolescents: Linkages with Peer Relations and Friendships

Annette La Greca

Social anxiety has been evaluated mainly in adults and their interpersonal behaviors as well as social functioning. There is even research behind the anxiety in children. But social anxiety among adolescents is more of a new age topic that still requires a lot of investigating because there is great disparities between the age groups. The goal of the study was to evaluate the adolescent links between interpersonal functioning and their peers. Two aspects focused on were general peer acceptance and close friendships. Close friendships taking on important roles for adolescents. Examples are companionship, emotional support, intimacy, and a means to express emotion and results conflicts. A lack of this could result in social fear and avoidance. Adult to teen relationships were also evaluated, though not expected to have much influence.

The study contained 250 high school students. These participants were interviewed at home and measured with social scales and self-perception profiles, and as demographic information was taken down as well. It was found that those with higher social anxiety felt less accepted by peers and less romantically fit, for both boys and girls but stronger in girls. This has led to missing out on social opportunities, which may contribute to social functioning impairments. For girls that were more socially anxious there were reports of lacking close friendships and low quality of the ones they do have. For boys quality was not a factor but lack of close friendships was linked with higher social anxiety and avoidance.

Recent Advances in the Understanding and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Steven Shearer

This article talks about treatments for various kinds of anxiety disorders. It claims that everyone experiences some sort of anxiety, whether episodic or situational. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health issue. These can affect social function, health care, and general well-being. They can also lead to other mental illnesses, primarily depression. The focus is on specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and OCD.

Social anxiety, also called social phobia, has higher impairment of functioning and less consistence in treatment as compared to other psychiatric disorders. The diagnosis is persistent fear of social situations that have a risk for scrutiny or disapproval by others. Basic shyness can lead to the development of social phobia. One can become consumed with worrying about what others think and constantly stressing about if they’re doing the right thing, preventing them from interacting normally. It can be specific, like public speaking, or generalized, like going to parties. There is a deliberate avoidance of social interactions, which can lower academics, achievement, and lead to an overall low quality of life. This can be treated with medications but will usually be paired with a therapy as well. Exposure therapy is used to treat phobias. Skills to combat the anxiety are taught as the distress is brought on. This works on combating the anxiety head on instead of trying to escape or distract oneself from it. Cognitive behavioral therapy has a focus on accepting the anxiety and working through it rather than trying to suppress it.

Analysis of Social Behavior in Individuals with Social Phobia and Nonanxious Participants Using a Psychobiological Model

Kenneth S Walters, Debra A Hope

This article defines social phobia as an “excessive fear of social situations” that have an expected result of embarrassment and humiliation. This results in a fear of most social situations, such as drink, eating, conversation, and observation by others. About 13% of people experience it at some point in their life. The coping system is socially anxious people is geared towards defense and safety, which are found under a competitive frame of view. They see the social hierarchy while those that aren’t socially anxious don’t actively see competition. The anxious person views themselves as the submissive and tries to prevent interaction with the dominant. They do whatever it takes to avoid rejection and try to remain in the situation, but if needed will focus on how to escape the situation or avoid it all together.

When the authors tested non-anxious against anxious individuals, the main finding was that the fear cones from verbal interaction. Their physical actions in a conversation, such as eye contact or having a relaxed posture, were normal. It is the act of carrying a conversation and verbally interacting that the disparity between the anxious and non-anxious is seen. That is when the socially anxious start to decline and want to escape the situation.

High School Enrollment

K-12 Enrollment Statistics [2020]: Totals by Grade Level + More

Jaleesa Bustamante

This organization gives statistics on number of students enrolled in schools of all ages from the year 2019. There are 15.3 million attended high school (9-12th grade). 3.3 million graduated in 2018, and it was projected that 3.7 million would graduate in 2020, so the numbers are increasing. In 1980, there were 13.2 million students attending secondary/high schools. This increased in 2000 to a total of 13.5 million enrolled. However, the number of high schools decreased from 27,575 in 2000 to just 26,727 in 2018. Individual school enrollment is increasing. Progress of these students can vary based on demographics, socioeconomic status, politics, economies, and general services.

Life Skills

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

Nicholas L Holt

This study was conducted to determine if and how life skills are learned through sports, specifically a male high school soccer team. Interviews were conducted with 12 of the student athletes and the head coach. 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.

During the study two fieldworkers were in the environment the athletes went through each day, 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 seemed to impact players and be possible opportunities for life lessons to be learned. 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. While not directly taught, the study found that the players themselves generated those results from their own experiences.

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

Andrew Guest, Nick McRee

Around seventy-five percent of youths 7-12 grade participate in at least one extracurricular during the school year. This analysis observes those students that are doing extracurriculars and the impact the activities have on levels of delinquency and depression. As with everything in life there can be benefits and down sides to being involved with these extracurriculars, and the variation in outcomes can rely on social context. There is a contradictory nature between extracurricular activities and delinquency, in which the activities can both increase and decrease the presence of delinquency. The same goes with depression, where both decreases and increases in the presence of the illness are situationally created.

The results come from 120 schools that were analyzed. The administrators filled out questionnaires describing their districts. The adolescents from these schools were able to participate in interviews about involvement and self-evaluated delinquency and well-being. This showed that there was not a consistent measure of the connection between variables, but rather it was high context based. What mattered was how activities were being conducted. When they are carefully constructed and supervised, they can maximize positive outcomes, which would be decreases in delinquency and depression. They should not necessarily be perfect all the time, but make sure to address handling problems that do arise effectively. But if the activities aren’t carefully constructed there can be adverse effects and increases in the two negative variables.

Definiton/Categorical Sources Used

Bustamante, JaleesaK-12 Enrollment Statistics [2020]: Totals by Grade Level + More. 6 Sept. 2019, educationdata.org/k12-enrollment-statistics.

Farley, Holly R. “Assessing Mental Health in Vulnerable Adolescents.” Nursing, vol. 50, no. 10, 2020, pp. 48–53., doi:10.1097/01.nurse.0000697168.39814.93.

Shah, Dheeraj, et al. “Defining and Measuring Vulnerability in Young People.” Indian Journal of Community Medicine, vol. 40, no. 3, 2015, p. 193., doi:10.4103/0970-0218.158868.

Causal Sources Used

Guest, Andrew M., and Nick McRee. “A School-Level Analysis of Adolescent Extracurricular Activity, Delinquency, and Depression: The Importance of Situational Context.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 38, no. 1, 2008, pp. 51–62., doi:10.1007/s10964-008-9279-6.

Holt, Nicholas L., et al. “Do Youth Learn Life Skills through Their Involvement in High School Sport? A Case Study.” Canadian Journal of Education, vol. 31, no. 2, May 2008, pp. 281–304. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eue&AN=508035517&site=ehost-live.

Leary, Mark R. “The Social and Psychological Importance of Self-Esteem.” The Social Psychology of Emotional and Behavioral Problems: Interfaces of Social and Clinical Psychology., American Psychological Association, 1999, pp. 197–221. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/10320-007

Pedersen, Sara, and Edward Seidman. “Team Sports Achievement and Self-Esteem Development Among Urban Adolescent Girls.” Psychology of Women Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 4, 2004, pp. 412–422., doi:10.1111/j.1471-6402.2004.00158.x.

Rebuttal Sources Used

La Greca, Annette M., and Nadja Lopez. “Social Anxiety among Adolescents: Linkages with Peer Relations and Friendships.” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, vol. 26, no. 2, Apr. 1998, pp. 83–94. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eue&AN=507634802&site=ehost-live.

Shearer, Steven. “Recent Advances in the Understanding and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders.” Primary Care, vol. 34, no. 3, Elsevier Inc, 2007, pp. 475–504, doi:10.1016/j.pop.2007.05.002.

Walters, Kenneth S., and Debra A. Hope. “Analysis of Social Behavior in Individuals with Social Phobia and Nonanxious Participants Using a Psychobiological Model.” Behavior Therapy, vol. 29, no. 3, 1998, pp. 387–407., doi:10.1016/s0005-7894(98)80039-7.

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