Searching for positive youth development: A scoping review of sport for development programs serving marginalized yout


Over the past two decades, the creation and application of sport for development (SFD) programs has permeated communities and groups deemed to lack social resources. The current scoping review examined the literature around SFD programs and marginalized youth. A broad approach was taken to achieve an outline of the literature around the delivery, methodology, and measures involved when exploring the efficacy of SFD interventions applied to marginalized youth. A search of three key terms: "youth", "sport", and "at-risk" yielded 14,834 possible studies that were reduced to 359 after a title and abstract search. Studies were then coded by two reviewers for location, year of publication, study design, participants, operationalization of 'marginalized', types of sport programs, and associated outcomes. Twenty-three studies were included, predominately published between 2012-2018, using qualitative (43%), quantitative (35%), or mixed (22%) designs. Most participants were males (70%). When defining marginalization, socioeconomic status was primarily used as a descriptor (61%), as well as behaviour status (22%), psychological status (13%), and school enrolment (4%). Most programs were community-based (48%), administered for 12 weeks or more (61%), and aimed to strengthen youth's psychological well being (26%), or social skills (44%). This review demonstrates a predominantly social approach to the operationalization of marginalized, and the creation, facilitation, and evaluation of SFD programs for marginalized youth. Although 18% of the studies included qualitative methods, an experiential aspect of program evaluation was lacking. Further exploration of marginalized youths' experiences within SFD programs may prove valuable in understanding participation and development in this population