The Social Impacts of Sport and Physical Recreation: Literature review

Physical activities and sports have a great social impact. Therefore, this paper is focused on the literature review of the researches and studies that were conducted in this area. The work describes sources that were focused on the age and gender factors impact on the lack of physical activities among participants. Also, it provides the review of articles that are concentrated on the crime prevention and crime rated decrease. The next part of the paper provides the review of the researches that describes the role of the physical activities in the health improvement. It was noted that in some cases it can be highly effective, while in some cases the effect is arguable. Also, the work describes studies that were concentrated on the governments’ role in the sports promotions through the recommendations and guidelines’ development. Moreover, the paper provides the articles’ descriptions that are focused on the physical activities and sports social benefits. Hence, physical activities have a strong social impact.

Physical and sports recreation area includes a great number of the researches and studies.  Aports and physical activities can have social impacts through the social life improvement, crime rates’ reduction, quality of life increase and cultural development. It is critical to understand that sport is a vital part of people’s lives that improves as physical, as social issues. Therefore, this paper is focused on the sport and physical recreation social impacts and the literature that provide the researches and studies in this area. The paper is aimed to support this position through the different themes overview regarding sports and physical activities, particularly, age and gender factors’ role, crime prevention, health improvement, governments’ role and social benefits.

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Discussion of key terms

Sport is believed to be a strong and effective factor that plays a critical role in the health interventions and treatments. Hence, the sports participation and active recreation positive impact on physical health are widely accepted. Physical activities and sports in this paper can be explained as vital elements of the interventions and treatments and a great part in a health promotion strategy. Thus, physical activity based interventions are programs and strategies aimed on the specific disorders treatment and health improvement. Various researches identified different sport-inducted health benefits and among them were higher quality of life, culture development, better health and social life improvement. Exactly on these benefits are based recommendations provided by governments. The physical activities and sports recommendations can be defined as the guidelines aimed to improve the health of population and to encourage people`s participation in the physical activities as a vital and continuous part of their lifestyles. However, lack of information can be seen in the physical recreation and sports social impact.

Literature Review

Age and Gender Factors Role in the Sports and Physical Activities

It is critical to understand that adolescence is a crucial time for the health behavior development, including the active lifestyle. Hence, Casey, Eime, Payne and Harvey (2009) are focused on the idea that the physical and sports activity participation declines during this period, particularly among girls in the rural area. The study provides different interacting and independent factors that impact the physical and sports activity participation among rural adolescent girls. In the article was used the socio-ecological model of health that helped to guide four focus discussions. In the results, it became clear that adolescent girls were positively impacted by the physical and sports activities when they were fun, supported by teachers and families, involved being with friends through the positive feedback and role modeling. Different organizational and intrapersonal factors strongly affected perceived self-competence. For the sport and physical activity promotion among adolescent girls in the rural areas the focus has to be aimed at the development of appropriate activities that generate cultural changes, offer single-sex opportunities, can be fun and encourage self-referencing and non-competitive activities. Therefore, the study is critical because it facilitated the age understanding and its impact on the physical activities participation.  Approximately the same position is supported by Eime et al. (2013) focused on the concern regarding the adolescents’ participation in the sports activities decline. In particular, the research states that adolescent girls have the lack of interest in the sports activities. The research provides the investigation on adolescent girls’ participation in physical activities in terms to settings aspects and life transitions (Eime et al., 2013). The next paper is also focused on the age aspect and it influences on the willingness to take part in the sports and physical activities. In particular, the research puts an emphasis on female adolescent from rural areas and their involvement in unstructured physical activities and sports or lack of it that can impact their health. Hence, the presented in the study report is crucial because it can help with the gender and age relation to the benefits that were received from the sports and physical activities.

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At the same time, it is critical to understand that gender factor can be mixed with the environmental issues. Hence, Cleland et al. (2010) in their article assume that there is a high failure risk to participate in sport and physical activities among women that live near the socially disadvantaged people. The paper provides findings that were reached from the study conducted due to the socio-ecological framework use. Moreover, it shows the correlation between the people’s neighborhood environment and their physical activities’ level with a strong emphasis on women (Cleland et al., 2010). The paper is crucial for the current research because if puts an accent on the relationship understanding between people physical and sports activities participation and neighborhood environment.

In general, age factor plays a great role in the physical activities and sports social impact. Therefore, Kahmeier et al. (2015) in research have focused the interventions that provided on the school level and the suggestion that they can be universally applicable and be effective in fostering the physical activities participation. In the study was developed a relation between fitness and physical activities because the authors argue that schools have a great role in physical activities involvement culture among learners (Kahmeier et al., 2015). The next research is focused on the prevention measures development for the physical activity call low levels for initiatives that are aimed to identify determinants that are in strong relation to such unfavorable trends. There is an increasing concern about physical inactivity among young adults and adolescents. The research is based on the longitudinal study that assesses social changes in a Swiss households sample since 1999. The information was gained from every household member whose age was fourteen years old. Hence, the participants’ age varied from 14 to 24 between 1999 and 2006. The results showed that inactivity prevalence among both women and men was increasing with age. At the same time, women were less active in comparison with men of the same age. Moreover, a strong effect on the general physical activity has sports club membership. The article in concentrated on factors that account for behavior changes among young people regarding their physical activities involvement. Hence, the study provides a clearer understanding of the factors that determine the adults’ readiness to participate in the physical activities.

Impact of the Physical Activities and Sports on the Crime Rates

The physical activities and sports can have a strong impact on the crime prevention and rates decrease. Therefore, Cameron and MacDougall (2000) are focused on the fact that physical and sports activities are not primarily directed at the crime prevention. Nonetheless, it was stated that that physical and sports activities participation can facility efforts directed at the crime prevention. This study is relevant to the current social sports impacts and social recreation study because it demonstrates the extensive examination of social activities that are thought to be helpful in terms of making young people be uninvolved in the criminal activities. Exactly this was done through the programs examination by the selected sample use in a survey form. The results showed that physical and sports activity can be mixed with the other intervention for the crime reduction in the communities and groups. The crime level can be reduced by providing appropriate and accessible activities in the supportive social context which means that the physical and sports activities have to be positively connected with the communities and groups’ social fabric.  At the same time, Taylor and Davies (2015) in their paper provide an extensive review of the available evidence that is focused on the culture and sports social implication. It designed in a systematic review form and present critical information about sports social impact. Some of the impacts were presented as the social capital, crime reduction rates and improved educational achievements. There is strong evidence that sports participation can improve pro-social behavior and reduce anti-social behavior and crime rate for the young man. This involves lower levels evidence for sports participants in comparison with nonparticipants, of drunken driving, recidivism, illegal drug use, school suspensions and crime, juvenile and shoplifting crimes and property crimes.


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Association of Physical Activities and Sports with Social Benefits

The physical activities and sports lead to the social benefits. Hence, the qualitative study of Eime et al. (2013) is focused on the Health through Sports model applicability exploration among adults and sports participation’s psychological and social benefits exploration for the adults. No human subjects were involved because the study was a qualitative literature review. The article provides the combination of the qualitative review of participation in sports social and mental effects studies and grounded theory. The data was collected by identifying relevant studies through a systematic research of fourteen electronic databases, choosing the needed studies basing on the predetermined criteria, selected studies quality assessing, chosen studies reviewing and conceptual model basing on conducted review developing. Hence, the literature review was implemented as the data collection method. The results showed that sports participation is associated with different psychological and social benefits including well-being improvement and stress and distress reduction. Another issue that was noted is that sports participation can be associated with the psychological health improvement. Moreover, the team-based and club-based sports due to the social nature of the participation can be associated with better social health outcomes in opposite to the individual sports activities participants. Therefore, the developed Health through Sport conceptual framework showed that the relationship between psychological, psychosocial, social health domains and sports participation. Basing on these results it was concluded that there are casual links between the sports participation and psychological and social health.

In the next research Oja, Bull, Fogelholm and Martin (2010) also assume that physical activities participation has strong health benefits. It is stated that health benefits that people acquire by participating in physical activities can also lead to the great achievements of the public health goals. In the research prevalence the communication idea that caters for cultural and ethnic diversity and that can be used for the physical activities and sports participation encouragement.  The other similar paper is also based on the sporting activities’ participation benefits examination. It provides sports benefits by referencing to the cultural values and assumes that sports participation is a measure that is used to promote cultural values. The results can be used as the baseline data for the critical events with putting an emphasis on the research on the personal outputs, segmenting gender values, validating stated purposes, documenting community, social and personal benefits and analyzing the balance between shared cultural values and friendly competition. Hence, this paper it important because it provides a critical view on different benefit forms that participants can reach from the parts’ participation.

Hence, it is possible to note that physical activity’ social benefits lead to the quality of life realization. Maciel et al. (2013) are concentrated on the differenced in perceived quality of life regarding physical nature. It provides a clear view on the relationship between the quality of life and physical activities participation. In the research participated 1,966 volunteers in the Brazilian university community. The volunteers responded the questionnaire to assess the physical activity levels. The results demonstrated that individuals that were more involved in physical activities had the most positive perception of the quality of life in comparison with the participant that were less active in sports. This paper is critical because it helps to understand how people`s engagement in physical activities can influence their health.

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Health Disorders and Physical Activities and Sports Relation

Health and sports are in strong relation to each other, and many interventions are based on physical activities. Hence, in the research Dunn et al. (2005) provide the proposal in the association between people`s exposure level to the depressive disorder and their involvement in different sports. In the study participated people whose age was from 20 to 45 years old and they were diagnosed with mild to moderate MDD (Dunn et al., 2005). They had to perform exercised in the supervised laboratory. The participants were divided into the groups that were focused on one of four aerobic exercise treatments (Dunn et al., 2005). The results showed that aerobic exercise as the public health recommendation can be considered an efficient treatment for MDD of mild to moderate severity (Dunn et al., 2005). Therefore, the paper states that exercising has the ability to reduce the depressive symptoms. Thus, this study is critical because it provides benefits of the physical activities’ involvement regarding the depression prevention (Dunn et al., 2005).  The next research of Eime et al. (2013) is concentrated on the suggestion that health cannot be defined without relation to the physical, social and mental domains. The authors noted that social health is not addressed by the physical activity. The study includes a systematic review of fourteen electronic databases that was conducted in 2012 and researches that were published since 1990 (Eime et al., 2013). Also, in the article were included papers that were concentrated on the social or mental health benefits from the sports participation (Eime et al., 2013). The authors wrote about social health benefits of adults’ health participation. In the research was provided information about conceptual framework on how health can be improved through the sport. Thus, there was generated a link between psycho-social health and effective sports involvement (Eime et al., 2013). Therefore, the article is crucial because it is focused on the sports social impact understanding.

Hamilton, Foster and Richards (2016)  provides a quantitative study that is focused on the fact that adolescent and children are often exposed to the violent conflicts that lead them to the high risk of the mental health problems development. Therefore, physical and sports activities are highly incorporated in the post-conflict intervention for children and adolescents. The conflicts expose people to the traumatic and violent events that increase mental health problems and radically change the economic and social environment that can lead to the psychiatric disorders emergence. To handle this situation the sport is often used in the programs and intervention that shows increasing evidence of positive impact on the social, mental and physical well-being of young people. The main goal of this review was to focus on the physical and sports activities based programs impact evidence among children and adolescents with mental health problems in the post-conflict settings and to emphasize the current practices limitations. As the method was used a systematic review of leading humanitarian websites, twelve journals and twelve electronic databases that were conducted in August 2014. In the research for the studies assessment was used the Effective Public Health Practice Project Toll Assessing Quantitative Studies. The studies were included in the review in case they described interventions that were based on the physical and sports activities among adolescents whose age was from twelve to nineteen in the post-conflict settings. The results showed all 11,722 publication were initially identified and only three were included basing on the mentioned criteria in the narrative synthesis. Hence, two studies were focused on the projects in northern Uganda, particularly one was concentrated on the decline in the boys mental health intervention in comparison with controls, while the second showed non-significant improvement. The last study was focused on the continual improvement in the ex-child soldiers’ symptom presentation in Sierra Leone. All these studies had a common limitation, particularly, lack of treatment mechanism research, unreported method adaptation and short study follow-up and duration. Therefore, it is possible to note that effectiveness of the sport and physical activities interventions and programs is not research in an appropriate way and further evaluation and research have to be directed to the processes and mechanism identification behind the intervention intended impact.

Government Role in the Physical Activities and Sports

A great role in the sports promotion play government attitude. Hence, this position is supported by Kahmeier et al. (2015) that state nations have to develop their recommendations regarding physical activities as a way to provide the people`s physical activities participation improvement. The research is based on the systematic review of the physical activities recommendations that were provided by the World Health Organization with a strong focus on the European region. The results showed that less than 40% of the countries in the European region developed national physical activities recommendation. Therefore, this article is crucial because it gives the information about governments’ role in the citizens’ physical activities participation promotion. At the same time, Oja and Titze (2011) provide a summary on confirmed association that occurred between different health benefits and physical activity involvement. It proposes recommended activity levels that have to be undertaken by various population groups. The physical activity recommendations can be considered guidelines aimed on the population that has to provide the disease prevention. Moreover, the recommendation develops some foundation for the counseling, interventions, programs, and policies promotion. In many European countries, the physical activity was included in the national health policies. Therefore, this paper is critical because it provides information about different activities that have to be participated by various population groups.


Overall, it is critical to notice that physical activities and sports have a strong social impact. The social impact of the physical activities can be expressed through the culture promotion, crime rates decrease and crime prevention, health improvement, social benefits, and governments’ involvement. Hence, through the themes overview, it is possible to see a great positive role of the physical activities and sports in the crime rates’ reduction, social benefits, promotion, cultural development, physical and mental health improvement and governments’ active engagement in the health promotion process. Therefore, it is possible to note that physical activities and sports provide a great impact on the social areas.

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