sports development

sport & physical activity academic resources

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The role and development of life skills in young sports participants

E-mail Print

Under the umbrella of positive youth development, life skills represent an important area of research for young people. The personal competencies a young person possesses determine his or her capacity to effectively navigate the turbulence of adolescence and grow into adulthood. An increased understanding of the role, function, and enhancement of life skills therefore serves a great purpose in the design and evaluation of youth development programs.

This thesis aimed to extend the current knowledge and practices through targeting the gaps in the life skills literature.

First, using a qualitative design, the specific needs of young elite athletes were investigated while outlining a proposed methodology for future needs analyses. The importance of developing life skills in young athletes was emphasised as it was found that young athletes required a range of both sport specific and life skills.

Second, an investigation into the function of life skills found that reported possession of key life skills partially mediates the relationship between youth experiences and well-being, illustrating this role for the first time.

However, within youth samples there was a broad range in the degree to which these skills are applied and transferred, reinforcing the call for deliberate developmental programming. The lack of adequate measures in life skills research was addressed through the validation of BRSQ with young sports participants. Support for the utility of this measure allows for the greater investigation into the mechanisms through which life skills function.

Finally, a life skills program was designed following the recommendations of the predominant youth development frameworks and comprehensively evaluated.

This thesis progresses existing literature regarding the role and function of life skills as well as providing insight into how to best promote and evaluate the teaching of life skills in applied research programs.



editors comments

Editor's comments -  [ The above is the abstract from an original PhD thesis; the final publication in the study for the author in pursuit of a doctorate; such works result in the author being awarded a PhD and the title of Dr. by an appropriately accedited University. PhD's are the culmination of a number of years work by the author supervised by two (normally PhD or MPhil qualified) academics and, with the addition of a further appropriately qualified academic (not normally from the same University) as part of a viva-voce examination team. Successful research work at PhD level is designed to add to the body of knowledge in the study area at some level.

A PhD thesis often forms the foundation for journal articles for the author and leads to further enquiry in the form of what is called post-doctoral research. These works are characterised by comprehensive literature reviews, sometimes traditional yet multiple (and often mixed) methods, interesting if not ground breaking discussions and always directional signs toward further research; they provide for undergraduates not only a model for the possibilities for further study but a gift in terms of references in any given subject areas.

To reference an eThesis the convention in the text is the same as a book; author (date), in the reference list there is some debate; theses are more often than not, unpublished works, yet when listed on databases at Universities or elsewhere it could be argued that they are published.

Our best advice is to reference list internet sourced theses as ‘published’…. ie.; Author, (date). Title (emphasised). Place of publication and (university) publisher. Available from: URL reference. See our example reference below. ]


APA reference for this document


Reference :  Holland, M.J.G. (2012). The role and development of life skills in young sports participants. PhD Thesis. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. Available at


The above reference is in the APA style: See why this is important in our [how to reference] us guide.
PhD publications are normally published under Creative Commons Licence conditions in that you must attribute the work appropriately (use the reference above), must not distribute for commercial means and must not alter the work in any way. For a full copy of the CCL please see here. [Use of this document may be limited by © copyright ; by downloading you consent to our terms and conditions ]


Access this URL (, M.J.G. (2012). The role and development of life skills in young sports participants. Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Download this file (Holland_12_PhD.pdf)Holland_12_PhD.pdfHolland, M.J.G. (2012). The role and development of life skills in young sports participants. PhD Thesis. Birmingham: University of Birmingham
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 11:36  

Student Zone