Effects of a sport programme (Box'Tag) on disadvantaged youth participants

Peter Terry, Allan HAHN, Melina Simjanovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


There is evidence that appropriately structured sport programmes can help young people to build positive life skills while also improving their physical fitness and psychological well-being. Disadvantaged and marginalised young people have relatively low rates of participation in sport, and designing programmes that attract and retain them presents a major challenge. Some success has been reported for programmes involving boxing, but such programmes entail a high potential for injury. The present study assessed the effects of a modified, low-risk form of boxing, known as Box'Tag®, on disadvantaged 11-12-year-olds. Volunteer Grade 7 students (N = 51) participated in an eight-week programmes of two to three sessions per week. Using a matched-pair design to control for effects of gender and risk of social disengagement (at-risk/not-at-risk), participants were assigned to either the Box'Tag® intervention or a control condition, in the form of a largely non-physical social skills programmes called Rock and Water. To assess aspects of psychological well-being, the Brunel Mood Scale (BRUMS) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) were administered at baseline (T1), at 4 weeks (T2), at 8 weeks (T3), and a follow-up at 12 weeks (T4). Participants completed a shuttle run and other fitness tests at T1 and T3. Qualitative feedback from participants (n = 36) was gathered via open-ended questions at T3. No significant between-group differences were found for BRUMS or SDQ scores, although both the intervention and control groups reported significant reductions in total difficulties scores from T1 to T2 and the not-at-risk members of the Box'Tag® group reported the most positive trends for total mood disturbance from T1 to T2. The Box'Tag® group showed significant improvement in shuttle run performance from T1 to T3, whereas the control group showed no improvement. Programme perceptions were more positive for Box'Tag® participants than for the control group, and behavioural benefits were found for both programmes. Overall, the Box'Tag® programme appealed to children of both sexes, engaged children at risk of social disengagement, had positive effects on aerobic fitness, and yielded behavioural benefits for some participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-272
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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