Early Adolescent Girls Develop Their Self-Worth through Participation and Achievement


  • Erin Nau Monmouth University





2022 marked 50 years since the passing of Title IX, which allowed girls and women to have equal opportunities to participate in sports. One of the impacts this bill has had on girls is that participation and achievement in sports help early adolescent girls develop their self-worth. A finding from a recent phenomenological study on early adolescent girls’ self-worth found that girls develop self-worth through feeling competent in important capacities in their lives. This article will focus especially on the development of self-worth as it connects participation in sports to the impact of Title IX on girls. Furthermore, the participants’ related understanding of misogyny, violence against women, and achievement in a patriarchal society will be discussed in order to improve safety and inclusion for girls in sports.



Download data is not yet available.


Bang, H., Won, D., & Park, S. (2020). School engagement, self-esteem, and depression of adolescents: The role of sport participation, volunteering activity, and gender differences. Children and Youth Services Review, 105012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105012

Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2017). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage Publications.

Daniels, E., & Leaper, C. (2006). A longitudinal investigation of sport participation, peer acceptance, and self-esteem among adolescent girls and boys. Sex Roles, 55(11-12), 875-880. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-9138-4

DeBate, R. D., Pettee Gabriel, K., Zwald, M., Huberty, J., & Zhang, Y. (2009). Changes in psychosocial factors and physical activity frequency among third‐ to eighth‐grade girls who participated in a developmentally focused youth sport program: A preliminary study.

Journal of School Health, 79(10), 474-484. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2009.00437.x

Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§1681 - 1688 (2018).

Morton, H. O. (2016). License to abuse: Confronting coach-inflicted sexual assault in American Olympic sports. The William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, 23, 141.

Moustakas, C. (1990). Heuristic research: Design, methodology, and applications. Sage Publications.

Padgett, D. K. (2016). Qualitative methods in social work research (Vol. 36). Sage Publications.

Smetana, J. G., Campione-Barr, N., & Metzger, A. (2006). Adolescent development in interpersonal and societal contexts. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 255-284. https://doi.org10.1146/annurev.psych.57.102904.190124

Stevenson, B. (2007). Title IX and the evolution of high school sports. Contemporary Economic Policy, 25(4), 486-505. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2007.00080.x

Wrisley, S. P. (2021). Feminist theory and the problem of misogyny. Feminist Theory, 14647001211039365.

Zarrett, N., Veliz, P., & Sabo, D. (2018). Teen sport in America: Why participation matters. A Women's Sports Foundation report. Women's Sports Foundation.






Research Articles