Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Volkan Topalli

Third Advisor

Dr. Rita Noonan


Youth violence is a major public health problem for US adolescents. Sports participation has been shown to decrease the likelihood of certain forms of youth violence, such as suicide. Using a national representative sample, the study seeks to determine the association of dating and sexual abuse victimization with sports participation. Analyses of data from the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) suggest that sports participation is significantly associated with an increased likelihood of male dating abuse victimization. There was no significant association between sexual abuse victimization and sports participation for girls nor boys. These findings underscore the importance of evaluating contextual aspects of sports education and team dynamics that may have violence prevention potential. Primary recommendations include further research on the feasibility of disseminating youth violence prevention messaging via school and community sports, training for coaches, and rigorous evaluation of adolescent sports programs.