Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 155–163 | Cite as

The Relationship between Vigorous Physical Activity and Juvenile Delinquency: A Mediating Role for Self-Esteem?

  • Guy E. J. FaulknerEmail author
  • Edward M. Adlaf
  • Hyacinth M. Irving
  • Kenneth R. Allison
  • John J. M. Dwyer
  • Jack Goodman

Many policy-related reviews of the potential social value of sport and physical activity list the prevention of juvenile delinquency. We examined the relationships among vigorous physical activity, self-esteem, and delinquent behavior among adolescents in a large cross-sectional survey of Ontario adolescents. Data are based on questionnaires from 3,796 students (range 11–20 years) derived from the 2005 Ontario Student Drug Use Survey. Negative binominal regression methods were used to estimate both additive and interactive models predicting delinquent behavior. Vigorous physical activity was positively associated with delinquent behavior; however, this pattern of association was observed only among male adolescents. There was no evidence of a mediating role for self-esteem. Our findings suggest that physical activity is not the solution for reducing juvenile delinquency.


delinquency adolescence physical activity self-esteem 



This research was funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy E. J. Faulkner
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Edward M. Adlaf
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hyacinth M. Irving
    • 2
  • Kenneth R. Allison
    • 2
  • John J. M. Dwyer
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jack Goodman
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Physical Education and Health University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, College of Social and Applied Human SciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  5. 5.Public Health ResearchEducation and Development Program, Public Health ServicesHamiltonCanada
  6. 6.University of Toronto, Faculty of Physical Education and HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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