METHODS: This study utilized a mixed methods design. Two-hundred-ninety-seven youth ages 9-16 (M=11.98, SD=1.60) completed pre/post questionnaires assessing social competence; social competence in sport; and overall athletic and sport-specific competence. Of these participants, 55% (n=163) were male and 45% (n=134) female. Seventy-eight percent were African American, 12% Multi-racial, 2% White/Non-Hispanic, 4% Native American, and 4% were classified as "Other". T-tests were used to determine changes in perceptions of social and physical skills. Additionally, ten parents of youth participants were interviewed to gain an understanding of their perceptions of the program's contribution to child, family, and community level outcomes. Interview data were recorded and transcribed verbatim; and raw data were then coded and organized into categories and subcategories using axial coding (Corbin & Strauss, 2008).
RESULTS: Results demonstrated significant increases in youth participants' perceptions of competence in several sport specific skills. No significant differences were found in participants' perceptions of social competence. Qualitative data also provide preliminary evidence of parent perceptions of changes in youth social competencies. Additional benefits were noted by parents in relation to the contributions of the program to the family and community.
CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: Quantitative data suggest that the program provided participants with many sport-specific gains, which is encouraging given the relationship between competence development and positive youth outcomes (Masten & Coatsworth, 1998). Parents also identified key outcomes at the family and community level that are known to contribute to healthy development. These findings provide preliminary evidence of the value of sport-based PYD summer programs for supporting the development of protective factors, or developmental assets and reducing risk. Further research is needed to better understand how to increase social competence in short-term programming, especially given the reality of funding.