The role of aggression as a mediator between the association of risk behaviors and sporting activities
Mentor:Enrique Ortega, Assistant Professor, Division of Health Sciences, California State University Dominguez Hills
Hypothesis: This study investigated the possible role of aggressive behaviors as a mediator between the association of risk behaviors and sports involvement. Rationale: Involvement in sporting activities has been shown to be positively associated with risk behaviors. Few investigations however have tried to explain what other factors are possibly involved in this association. This study proposed aggression as a related factor to this association Methods: The sample consisted of 302 Italian high school adolescents (48% female), ages 15-19 years (mean age = 17.4 (S.D. = 1.4)). The participants were representative of the population of adolescents attending high school in this part of Italy. Linear regressions were used to explore the associations of among our variables of interest. This investigation employed secondary analysis investigative methods. Results: Following Baron and Kenny’s test of mediation, results indicated that higher scores on a risk behavior index were associated with greater involvement in sports activities (β = .359, p < 0.001). Once aggression was included in the model the observed association between risk behavior and sporting activity dropped out of significance (β = .254, p < 0.067) indicating the possible mediator role of aggression in this relationship. Principle conclusions: Understanding such potential problematic behaviors as aggression and risk involvement can assist prevention specialists to develop interventions aimed at helping to focus such behaviors in more pro-social ways. Sports involvement can serve as an outlet for a number of behaviors and dispositions that can sometimes be negative in the lives of adolescents. These findings could help inform prevention efforts in the field of adolescent deviant behaviors.