Team sports associated with less depression in boys as young as 9
Source: Washington University in St. Louis
Adult depression has long been associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, a brain region that plays an important role in memory and response to stress. Now, new research has linked participation in team sports to larger hippocampal volumes in children and less depression in boys ages 9 to 11.
The findings raise the intriguing possibility that there is some added benefit of the team or structured component of sports, such as the social interaction or the regularity that these activities provide.
The results indicated that there was an association between sports involvement and hippocampal volume in girls, but unlike boys, no additional association with depression.
This might mean that different factors contribute to depression in girls, or that a stronger association to sports involvement might emerge at a later developmental period for girls.