Skip to content

Report

The relationship between engagement in sport or physical activity and subjective wellbeing among young, healthy adults: secondary analysis

Authors

Publication date

Oct 2017

Summary

This report explores the relationship between subjective wellbeing (SWB) and participation in sport or physical activity among healthy people aged 16 to 25. This relationship is studied by analysing data from four large samples: 1) a UK sample from the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society; 2) an English sample from the Active People Survey and the Taking Part survey; 3) a European sample of residents in Berlin, London and Paris from a study conducted at the London School of Economics; and 4) an American sample from the American Time Use Survey. Overall, the analysis reveals positive associations with various measures of SWB. In particular, the young, healthy adults who do sport or physical activity are usually more satisfied with their life, happier on the whole, and also find their life more worthwhile, especially if they exercise on a weekly basis. Moreover, they normally feel happier, less stressed, and a greater sense of purpose during sport or physical activity, compared to how they feel on average during other daily activities. It is further observed, however, that life satisfaction does not vary as people increase or decrease their participation over time, while moving from exercise to other activities during a typical day (and vice versa) is strongly linked to changes in mood. These findings indicate that sport and physical activity have little direct impact on how people feel overall, but they can significantly affect how they feel moment to moment. Implications for sporting policies are delineated.

Subjects

Psychology, Young People, Well Being, Health, and Sport

Links

https://www.whatworkswellbeing.org/product/sport-dance-and-physical-activity-secondary-analysis/

#524679


Research home

Research home

News

Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author

Podcasts

Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society

Projects

Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs

Events

Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report

Themes

Key research themes and areas of interest