Although growing in prevalence, little is known about how and for whom sport-based positive youth development (PYD) programs make a difference. This study addresses two gaps: A lack of multi-year studies and limited research differentiating outcomes between groups of participants. Specifically, this study uses repeated measures ANOVAs and hierarchical and non-hierarchical modeling procedures to investigate outcomes among two clusters of underserved youth who participated in two consecutive LiFEsports summer camps. Two hundred and thirty one youth participated, with the majority African American (87%) and male (62%). The average age of participants was 10.71 years. Participants completed surveys to assess four skills: self-control, effort, teamwork, and transfer. Within the full sample, growth was seen over the course of each camp. Social skills returned to baseline levels between summers. Youth entering LiFEsports with high levels of social skills experienced some fluctuations but no significant changes in outcomes. Conversely, youth with relatively low social skills experienced more consistent and maintained growth between summers. Results support the positive impact of sport-based PYD programs on vulnerable youth and reiterate the need for a more complex understanding of the mechanisms affecting certain types of youth. Implications for sports-based PYD research and practice are drawn.
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Anderson-Butcher, Dawn; Martin, Eric; Paluta, Lauren; and Gould, Dan. (2018). "Patterns of Social Skill development Over-Time Among Clusters of LiFEsports Participants". Children and Youth Services Review, 87, 17-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.01.044