Regular physical activity is beneficial for the body and mind. And this for adults and children. That said, there is a link between the type of sport (collective or individual) and mental health. According to a study by the journal Plos One, relayed by France Info on Saturday June 11, children and adolescents practicing individual sports (tennis, gymnastics, etc.) are more subject to psychological concerns, such as anxiety, depression or attention or socialization problems.
In detail, the behavior of more than 11,200 children aged 9 to 13 representative of the population was studied for ten years. They were categorized into four groups, depending on their participation in a team sport, an individual sport, both or their absence of sporting activities. According to the conclusions of the study, children participating in team sports (football, basketball, etc.) are less prone to mental disorders. It would even be the opposite: group sports activities could be a driving force for maintaining good mental health in adolescents.
Several reasons can explain the prevalence of psychological difficulties in individual sports. “The main assumption is that the performance requirement then rests entirely with the child or adolescent. If the pressure is too strong, it can become a real source of anxiety and fragility,” says Géraldine Zamansky, health journalist with France Info. Losing a football match would put the disappointment on the whole group and not just on the shoulders of a child who lost a tennis match. Also, social interactions within a team generate a form of solidarity and camaraderie that solitary athletes would be deprived of.