A salutogenic perspective on sport-for-development research

Sabina Super*, Kirsten Verkooijen, Maria Koelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Research on positive youth development through sport is confronted with a number of limitations: it lacks a clear theoretical basis of mechanisms underlying life skill development through sport, it has a narrow focus on the sports setting thereby neglecting the interplay between life domains in reaching positive youth development, and the mechanisms underlying the transfer process of newly acquired skills and competences from the sports setting to other life domains are unclear.
This study aims to advance research in in this field by applying theoretical insights from the salutogenic model of health to address the aforementioned limitations.
The salutogenic model of health describes how health and well-being develops in challenging or stressful situations and offers an interesting perspective on the mechanisms underlying youth developmental processes while simultaneously aligning well with the tenets of the positive youth development approach. The application of the salutogenic model of health offered a number of interesting theoretical insights to further understand 1) the mechanisms underlying positive youth development through sport (i.e., enhancing comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness), 2) that youth development arises in the interaction between an individual’s stressors, resources and sense of coherence across different life domains, and 3) the central role of both generalized and resistance resources and sense of coherence in the transfer of life skills between life domains. Given that sense of coherence plays a vital role in the healthy development of individuals and the transfer of life skills across life domains, it would make sense to strengthen the sense of coherence of youths in sports programs.
Based on this theoretical analysis, several recommendations and considerations for further research on positive youth development through sport are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113376
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Life skills
  • Positive youth development
  • Resources
  • Salutogenesis
  • Sense of coherence
  • Sport pedagogy
  • Transfer


Dive into the research topics of 'A salutogenic perspective on sport-for-development research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this