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Sport and dance interventions for healthy young people (15–24 years) to promote subjective well-being: a systematic review
  1. Louise Mansfield1,
  2. Tess Kay2,
  3. Catherine Meads3,
  4. Lily Grigsby-Duffy2,
  5. Jack Lane4,
  6. Alistair John2,
  7. Norma Daykin5,
  8. Paul Dolan6,
  9. Stefano Testoni6,
  10. Guy Julier4,
  11. Annette Payne2,
  12. Alan Tomlinson4,
  13. Christina Victor7
  1. 1 Department of Life Sciences, Division of Sport Health and Exercise Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UK
  2. 2 Life Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UK
  3. 3 Health, Social Care and Education, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK
  4. 4 Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK
  5. 5 Health and Wellbeing, University of Winchester, Winchester, UK
  6. 6 Social Policy, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK
  7. 7 Clinical Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Louise Mansfield; louise.mansfield{at}


Objective To review and assess effectiveness of sport and dance participation on subjective well-being outcomes among healthy young people aged 15–24 years.

Design Systematic review.

Methods We searched for studies published in any language between January 2006 and September 2016 on PsychINFO, Ovid MEDLINE, Eric, Web of Science (Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Social Science and Science Citation Index), Scopus, PILOTS, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus and International Index to Performing Arts. Additionally, we searched for unpublished (grey) literature via an online call for evidence, expert contribution, searches of key organisation websites and the British Library EThOS database, and a keyword Google search. Published studies of sport or dance interventions for healthy young people aged 15–24 years where subjective well-being was measured were included. Studies were excluded if participants were paid professionals or elite athletes, or if the intervention was clinical sport/dance therapy. Two researchers extracted data and assessed strength and quality of evidence using criteria in the What Works Centre for Wellbeing methods guide and GRADE, and using standardised reporting forms. Due to clinical heterogeneity between studies, meta-analysis was not appropriate. Grey literature in the form of final evaluation reports on empirical data relating to sport or dance interventions were included.

Results Eleven out of 6587 articles were included (7 randomised controlled trials and 1 cohort study, and 3 unpublished grey evaluation reports). Published literature suggests meditative physical activity (yoga and Baduanjin Qigong) and group-based or peer-supported sport and dance has some potential to improve subjective well-being. Grey literature suggests sport and dance improve subjective well-being but identify negative feelings of competency and capability. The amount and quality of published evidence on sport and dance interventions to enhance subjective well-being is low.

Conclusions Meditative activities, group and peer-supported sport and dance may promote subjective well-being enhancement in youth. Evidence is limited. Better designed studies are needed.

Trial registration number CRD42016048745; Results.

  • sport
  • dance
  • wellbeing

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  • Contributors The review was conceived and designed, and the protocol developed by LM, TK, CM, LGD, JL, AJ, ND, PD, ST, GJ, AP, AT and CV; article screening was carried out by LM, TK, AJ, LGD, JL and CV; data extraction, quality checks data interpretation were completed by LM, TK, AJ, LGD, JL and CV; and the manuscript drafted by LM and critically reviewed by TK, CM, LGD, JL, AJ, ND, PD, ST, GJ, AP, AT and CV.

  • Funding This study was funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ES/NOO3721/1).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The appendix is available as online supplementary material and includes; Appendix 1, demonstration Ovid MEDLINE search strategy; Appendix 2, table of excluded studies; Appendix 3, the standardised data extraction form; Appendix 4, the What Works Centre for Wellbeing quality checklist (quantitative studies); Appendix 5, summary of SWB measures used in included studies.