The Relationship Between Israeli Youth Participation in Physical Activity Programs and Antisocial Behavior



Many intervention programs, including physical activity programs, have been developed to deal with youth involvement in delinquency. The current study explored whether youth participation in sport and physical activity programs reduces their involvement in delinquent behaviors. It examined the interaction effects of the features of the sports program with participation in the sports program. The sample consisted of 126 Israeli adolescents aged 13–18 (M = 15.68, SD = 1.32) who completed questionnaires about involvement in delinquency at the beginning of their sports program and again 6 months later. We found significant reductions in adolescents’ involvement in all the delinquent acts explored: crimes against a person; crimes against property, and public disorder crimes. However, no interaction effects were found between program features (sport type; program intensity; training and supervision in the program; and interaction with community services) and participation in the sports program. The findings highlight the importance of including sports programs in the interventions provided for at-risk youth and call for further investigation of the factors that may increase the benefits provided by participation in physical activity programs.


Juvenile delinquency Violence Sports, physical activity At-risk youth Sport type 



The authors would like to thank the many young people and program managers and coordinators who generously gave their time and support to make this study possible.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Hebrew University research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Work and Social WelfareThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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