Many intervention programs, including physical activity programs, have been developed to deal with youth involvement in delinquency. The current study explored whether youth participation in sport and physical activity programs reduces their involvement in delinquent behaviors. It examined the interaction effects of the features of the sports program with participation in the sports program. The sample consisted of 126 Israeli adolescents aged 13–18 (M = 15.68, SD = 1.32) who completed questionnaires about involvement in delinquency at the beginning of their sports program and again 6 months later. We found significant reductions in adolescents’ involvement in all the delinquent acts explored: crimes against a person; crimes against property, and public disorder crimes. However, no interaction effects were found between program features (sport type; program intensity; training and supervision in the program; and interaction with community services) and participation in the sports program. The findings highlight the importance of including sports programs in the interventions provided for at-risk youth and call for further investigation of the factors that may increase the benefits provided by participation in physical activity programs.
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- At-risk youth
- Juvenile delinquency
- Sport type
- Sports, physical activity