Australian Indigenous youth's participation in sport and associated health outcomes: Empirical analysis and implications

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sport Management Review, 2015, 18 (1), pp. 57 - 68
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© 2014 Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand. Analysis of the 2012 Mission Australia Youth Survey (MAYS) finds that among Indigenous youth aged 15-19 years there is a positive relationship between self-reported participation in sport and two health outcomes: rating of overall health and risk of mental health disorder. We find that Indigenous youth who participate in sport are 3.5 times more likely to report good general health and 1.6 times more likely to have no probable serious mental illness. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to potential future research and policy. In terms of research, the analysis illustrates the utility of brief and cost-effective measures of health outcomes that could be used in future evaluations of specific programs targeting Indigenous youth participation in sport. We also discuss the potential ramifications, for practitioners and management professionals, of the particular policy paths needed to address the current gaps in service delivery to Indigenous communities, and for the development of grassroots, evidence-based, well resourced, culturally sensitive, inclusive and community-led programs. This can, in part, be achieved by ensuring youth sport development programs are shaped by Indigenous youth themselves.
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