Received: 20-05-2010 -- Accepted: 06-08-2010 --
Published (online): 01-12-2010
Martial arts involvement among the youth has been described in controversial terms. Studies regarding the effects of martial arts practise on youth show contrasting images. While some refer to enhanced personal and social opportunities for those that participate, others warn against increased levels of aggressiveness and antisocial behavior among its participants. The aim of the present review is to provide, firstly, an overview of the major findings of studies concerning the social-psychological outcomes of martial arts practise. Secondly, the limitations of those studies are discussed. From more than 350 papers, collected during a two-year lasting literature study, 27 papers met all criteria to be included in this study. This review revealed that even though a considerable amount of research on social-psychological outcomes of martial arts practise has been conducted over the years, to date, it has not brought clarity in the existing duality regarding the possible effects of martial arts involvement. It is proposed that a better understanding can be provided if specific influential factors are taken into account in future research (i.e., participants' characteristics, type of guidance, social context and structural qualities of the sport).
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