Athletic Participation and Academic Achievement of High School Students: A Longitudinal Study of Athletic and Non-Athletic Participants

Robert F. McCarthy (Weymouth High School, Massachusetts, USA)

Article ID: 1256


The majority of extant research studies have established that high school students’ athletic participation is positively associated with several educational outcomes, including academic performance. However, the effect of long-term athletic participation on academic performance remains unclear. Using a longitudinal data of 220 students from a high school in eastern Massachusetts of the United States, this study has revealed that athletic participants in this school started with a statistically significant higher GPA than non-participants in the first year of study, and have continued to be higher in the following two years, lag behind significantly, however, in academic achievement growth from their non-participation counterparts. The results of the study call for thoughtful decision-making regarding sports programs and athletic policies, proper guidance and adequate support for athletes and an optimal sport-academic culture in American high schools.


High School, Athletic Participation, Academic Achievement, Zero-sum Perspective, Developmental Perspective

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