Physical activity participation and physical aggression in children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Yuxin ZHU, Jianbin LI, Mengge ZHANG, Chunxiao LI, Yi Hung Eva LAU, Sisi TAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Background: Aggressive behaviour is a substantial behavioural problem in children and adolescents. This review systematically summarises the current evidence on the relationship between physical activity participation and aggressive behaviour and quantifies the effects of physical activity interventions on aggression in children and adolescents. 

Methods: Studies were identified through a search of five electronic databases (PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus, MEDLINE, CINAHL and Web of Science) with combinations of three groups of keywords. Two independent reviewers screened and extracted data from the individual studies. The reporting quality and publication bias were assessed. The relationship between physical activity participation and aggressive behaviour was systematically summarized. Data (effect sizes) were pooled to investigate the effects of physical activity interventions on aggressive behaviour. A moderator meta-analysis was performed to identify potential moderators of the effects of physical activity interventions on aggressive behaviour. 

Results: Nineteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The relationship between physical activity participation and aggressive behaviour was mixed. A significant reduction in aggressive behaviour was observed after physical activity interventions (k = 8, SMD = −0.53, 95% CI [−0.27, −0.79], p < 0.001). The moderator meta-analysis showed that physical activity interventions involving team-based physical activity had greater effects than those involving individual-based physical activity (β = 0.42, SE = 0.18, p = 0.02). In addition, interventions involving physical activity alone were more effective in reducing aggressive behaviour than those that combined physical activity with other activities such as a philosophy course (β = −0.63, SE = 0.11, p < 0.001). 

Conclusion: The current meta-analysis presents evidence for the effect of physical activity interventions on aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents. Physical activity–only interventions involving team-based physical activity might be used for preventing or reducing aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents. Possible mechanisms, methodological strengths and weaknesses, implications, and suggestions for future studies were discussed. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102288
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume63
Early online dateSep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Citation

Zhu, Y., Li, J., Zhang, M., Li, C., Lau, E. Y. H., & Tao, S. (2022). Physical activity participation and physical aggression in children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 63. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2022.102288

Keywords

  • Physical aggression
  • Children and adolescents
  • Physical activity
  • Intervention
  • Systematic review

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