Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 11–12, pp 875–880 | Cite as

A Longitudinal Investigation of Sport Participation, Peer Acceptance, and Self-esteem among Adolescent Girls and Boys

  • Elizabeth DanielsEmail author
  • Campbell Leaper
Original Article


The present investigation was designed to explore the relations between sport participation, peer acceptance, and global self-esteem. Peer acceptance was considered as a possible mediator of the relationship between sport participation and global self-esteem. The sample included girls (N = 4,689) and boys (N = 5,811) between the ages of 12 and 21 (M = 15 years) who were part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Analyses revealed that peer acceptance partially mediated the relation between sport participation and global self-esteem for girls as well as boys. Findings suggest the importance of considering how sport participation and self-evaluations in particular domains may contribute to global feelings of self-worth. The role of peers in this relationship is discussed in relation to changing social attitudes about girls’ sport participation.


Self esteem Self concept Athletic participation Sports Peer relations Social acceptance Gender Adolescence 



We thank Margarita Azmitia for her thoughtful comments and suggestions. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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