Current Research


Current Research

Encouraging Positive Outcomes

LiFEsports researchers continuously study key topics within the field of sport-based youth development. Specifically, LiFEsports researchers regularly investigate the mechanisms and moderators that lead to positive outcomes from youth. Learn more about our current research studies underway below!


COVID-19 Pandemic Studies

COVID-19 Pandemic Studies

The COVID-19 pandemic has halted many of our daily routines, including many opportunities to participate in sport. LiFEsports, though, creatively responded to the need for youth to maintain sport participation during the pandemic. Our team designed “Sport in a Bag” where youth received various pieces of sport equipment to keep, offered social distanced clinics at some sites, and created a virtual sport community for youth and their families to continue practicing their sport and life skills.

Social Emotional Learning Intervention Strategies

Social Emotional Learning Intervention Strategies

Underserved youth tend to benefit most from positive youth development programs. However, little is understood about what conditions make these programs most impactful. Findings suggest that programs should have clear, structured curricula and expectations. Our findings also highlight the importance of praise. Similarly, programs should honor a reward system to reinforce social emotional learning skills.

Youth Leadership Academy Studies

Youth Leadership Academy Studies

Research with the Youth Leadership Academy is exploring how youth navigate experiences in their community, families, peers, and school systems. Using pre-, mid-, and post-surveys along with secondary data, interviews, and focus groups, these findings will help us better understand the positive and negative influences affecting urban youth and how to address these influences to promote healthy adolescent and young adult development.

Aspen Coaching Study

Aspen Coaching Study

The Aspen Coaching Study is examining Central Ohio’s youth sport coaches experiences and perceptions of youth sport. Specifically, this survey asked coaches about their coaching education, youth sport opportunities, available resources, and barriers preventing some youth from participating in sport, among others. These findings will help identify future directions for youth sport in Central Ohio.

Retention Study

Retention Study

Even though they minimize many barriers to sport participation, positive youth development programs sometimes struggle getting youth to re-register for camps. Through surveys and interviews, this mixed method study paired youth who did return to future camps with youth who did not to compare their characteristics and identify barriers that negatively affect retention.

Female Athlete Social Identity Development Study

Female Athlete Social Identity Development Study

Girls tend to be less active in sport than boys, but also tend to benefit from sport. In her master’s thesis, Taylor Broermann is examining the social identity development among adolescent girls on a competitive cheer squad. The study will use semi-structured interviews with young girls and focus groups with their parents to develop a better understanding of the role of cheerleading in adolescent girls’ social identity.

Social Capital Study

Social Capital Study

As part of a broader project with Logan-Hocking School District focused on improving school climate through positive behavioral supports, youth development and extracurricular activities, student interventions, and community partnerships, Jessie Hartman’s (undergraduate student at Ohio University) undergraduate thesis project will explore the extent to which the addition of a sports and recreation center in a rural community contribute to social capital, thereby strengthening the connections and relationships among people and institutions in an otherwise disenfranchised setting.

Young Adult Long-Term Transfer Study

Young Adult Long-Term Transfer Study

In this study, we are using semi-structured interviews to better understand the long-term transfer of skills taught during LiFEsports programming. We are interviewing young adults (who are former participants of LiFEsports) and their parents to explore how certain life skills are sustained years after participating in the program.


If you have any questions or interests in any of these research projects, please contact us.

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