Background: Psychophysiological-related benefits of participation in physical activities in school-aged adolescents are not well investigated. The purpose of the present research was to compare the status of self-esteem, goal orientation, physical self-efficacy, and health-related physical fitness in athletic and non-athletic middle school students. The association among physical fitness and psychological variables were also examined.
Methods: The present study used a correlational-comparative method. Statistical sample included 200 middle school male students in the age range of 12 to 15 years in 2019, Iran. Data were collected using standard questionnaires and instruments. Health-related physical fitness components included pulls-ups, sit-ups, running 540 meters, and flexibility. Independent t-test and Pearson correlation test were utilized for data analysis.
Results: Age of athletic and non-athletic groups were almost identical (14.96 versus 14.84, respectively). Athletic students had higher height (170.31 versus 163.01), lower weight (54.94 versus 60.46), and lower BMI (18.92 versus 22.69) compared with non-athletic students. The results showed that athletic students had significantly higher levels of self-esteem (p <0.001), physical self-efficacy (p <0.001), and health-related physical fitness in comparison to non-athletic students (p <0.001). Moreover, athletic students relied heavily on task-orientation than non-athletic students (p <0.001). Finally, health-related physical fitness was directly related to self-esteem, task orientation, and physical self-efficacy (p <0.001).
Conclusion: These findings may show that participating in regular physical activity and sport teams contribute to positive impacts on both physiological and psychological components.