Sports Team Participation: Suicidal Ideation Assessment of Adolescents in the U.S.

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2019-03-05

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Adams, Ann
Dharni, Luvleen
Thompson, Erika

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Sports Team Participation: Suicidal Ideation Assessment of Adolescents in the U.S. Luvleen K. Dharni, MPH(c)1, Ann Adams, MS(c)2, Erika Thompson, Ph.D3

  1. Department of Health Behavior and Systems, School of Public Health, UNTHSC
  2. Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, UNTHSC
  3. Department of Health Behavior and Systems, School of Public Health, UNTHSC Purpose Increasing rates of depression and death by suicide among adolescent populations remains a key public health issue. As such, national health promotion programs have recommended an increase in physical activity as a potential approach to suicide prevention. It is important to explore whether participation or non-participation in sports activity impacts suicide ideation among adolescents. The objective of this study was to assess the association between participation in sports teams and suicidal ideation among US adolescents. Methods The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) 2017 was examined among 9th– 12thgrade students in the United States. The initial inclusion sample size was a total of 14,765 usable observations and after a complete domain analysis, 3,466 participants are excluded for missing values with the final sample size of N=11,299. The outcome variable was suicidal ideation in the last 12 months. The predictor variable was participation in a sports team (yes/no). An adjusted survey-weighted logistic regression analysis in SAS 9.4 was used to assess the participation in sports teams and suicidal ideation adjusting for age, gender, grade level, and race/ethnicity. Results 17.1% of adolescents were found to consider suicidal ideation and 47.8% of those students participated in at least one or more sports team. Those who participated in 0 teams were significantly less likely to consider seriously attempting suicide than those who participated in one or more teams (OR=0.77, 95%CI 0.61,0.96). Females were less likely (OR=0.48, 95%CI 0.40, 0.57) to consider suicide ideation than males. Multiple non-Hispanic were less likely to have suicidal ideations than their white counterparts (OR=0.70, 95%CI 0.50,0.89). Conclusions The findings indicate participation in 0 sports teams may be a protective factor against suicidal ideation when controlling for age, gender, grade level, and race/ethnicity. This may be indicative of student participation in one team or more may be a burden or stressor contributing to adolescents’ mental health status. Next steps could consider assessing the dose of the sports activity and its influence on adolescent’s mental health status.

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