Sports ease aggression in boys

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TEL AVIV, Israel, July 7 (UPI) -- A study of children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds found a continuous program of various sports helps ease aggression in boys, Israeli researchers say.

Keren Shahar, a student at Tel Aviv University's Bob Shapell School of Social Work, working with Professors Tammie Ronen and Michael Rosenbaum, said her study involved 649 children from low socioeconomic backgrounds and found sports helped improve self-control and discipline and lowered feelings of aggression in the children overall.

Shahar and colleagues analyzed a 24-week after-school program for grades 3 to 6 in 25 schools based on sports. Half the participants comprised a control group who did not receive sports instruction, and the other half were systematically introduced to a variety of sports for 5 hours a week.


The findings demonstrated an improvement in participants' self-observation, problem-solving skills and delayed gratification -- which ultimately led to a decrease in the incidence of aggression, Shahar said.

However, the girls had a much weaker response to sports programs than the boys, statistically; there was little change in the female population, the study said.

The findings were presented at Tel Aviv University's Renata Adler Memorial Research Center for Child Welfare and Protection Conference.