The importance of life skills for sports degree students: How they contribute to students’ academic performance, health-related quality of life and flourishing

Lorcan Cronin, Justine Allen, Paul Ellison, David Marchant, Andy Levy, Chris Harwood

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

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Abstract

Life skills are defined as a range of transferrable skills needed for everyday life (Jones and Lavallee, 2009, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10, 159-167). According to Benson and Saito’s (2001, In P.L. Benson & K.J. Pittman (Eds.), Trends in youth development: Visions, realities and challenges (pp. 135-154). London, UK: Kluwer Academic Publishers) framework for youth development theory and research, life skills impact upon young people’s academic performance, health and well-being. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore the relationships between university sports degree students’ life skills (teamwork, goal setting, time management, emotional skills, interpersonal communication, social skills, leadership, and problem solving & decision making) and their academic self-efficacy, predicted academic performance, health-related quality of life (physical, emotional, social, and work/school functioning), and flourishing. With institutional ethics approval, 423 sports degree students (male = 236, female = 187, mean age = 20.42 ± 2.56 years) completed a survey assessing the main study variables. Standard multiple regression analyses revealed that time management (B = .51, P < .001), problem solving & decision making (B = .23, P < .01), and goal setting (B = .15, P < .05) contributed significantly to students’ academic self-efficacy. Time management was the only significant contributor to students’ predicted academic performance (B = 2.23, P < .001). In terms of health-related quality of life, emotional skills (B = .23, P < .001) were the only significant contributor to students’ emotional functioning, social skills (B = .18, P < .001) were the only contributor to students’ social functioning, and both time management (B = .25, P < .001) and problem solving & decision making (B = .14, P < .05) contributed significantly to students’ work/school functioning. Finally, five life skills contributed significantly to students’ flourishing: social skills (B = .27, P < .001), leadership (B = .26, P < .01), emotional skills (B = .20, P < .001), goal setting (B = .14, P < .01), and time management (B = .13, P < .01). Interpretation of the results suggest that university degree programmes and staff (e.g., lecturers or learning services) should help sports degree students develop these life skills which contribute to their academic performance, health-related quality of life, and flourishing. In practice, staff could provide specific learning sessions during the degree programme, that target the development of key life skills at what is a critical developmental period of young adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Aug 2017
EventBritish Association of Sport & Exercise Science/European Federation of Sport Psychology (BASES-FEPSAC) joint conference - Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Nov 201729 Nov 2017

Conference

ConferenceBritish Association of Sport & Exercise Science/European Federation of Sport Psychology (BASES-FEPSAC) joint conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityNottingham
Period28/11/1729/11/17

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