Sports Specialization, Physical Literacy, and Physical Activity Levels in Young Adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Context: Youth sport specialization may be associated with physical literacy and physical activity in young adulthood. The purposes of this study were to compare young adult (18-25 y) physical literacy and physical activity by high school sport specialization status and to examine the relationship between current physical activity and physical literacy. Design: Retrospective, cross-sectional study design. Methods: Participants were recruited from ResearchMatch, university classes, and social media posts. Participants (N = 172; aged 22.1 [2.1] y; 80.1% female) completed the following anonymous surveys on REDCap to assess: demographics and injury history, sport specialization, physical literacy (PLAYself), and physical activity (Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire). Results: When controlling for age, there were no statistically significant differences in physical literacy (F2,166 = 2.02, P = .14) or moderate to vigorous physical activity (F2,161 = 0.24, P = .79) between sport specialization groups. There was a moderate, positive relationship between physical literacy and physical activity (r = .33, P < .001). Conclusions: Young adult physical literacy and physical activity were similar regardless of youth sport specialization level. Young adult physical literacy was positively associated with physical activity. Future studies should consider physical literacy as a possible correlate of physical activity among young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-195
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Sport Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
An institutional review board approved this study and all procedures. Recruitment was done via ResearchMatch, a national health volunteer registry that was created by several academic institutions and supported by the US National Institutes of Health as part of the Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) program. Research-Match has a large population of volunteers who have consented to be contacted by researchers about health studies for which they may be eligible. Participants were also recruited through emails to university instructors to share with their classes and social media postings. Data were collected and managed using REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture)13 electronic data capture tools hosted at the University of Kentucky. REDCap is a secure, web-based software platform designed to support data capture for research studies.13 Participants first reviewed the cover letter informing them of the purpose of the study as well as the steps taken to protect their information. If they chose to continue the survey, they were directed to the eligibility questions. Moving past the cover letter was considered informed consent to move forward with the survey. If they were not eligible for the study, the survey ended, and the participant received a thank you message. If eligible, participants completed the following questionnaires in order: demographics and injury history, sport specialization, PLAYself14 (physical literacy), and Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire15(physical activity).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Human Kinetics, Inc.


  • exercise
  • knowledge
  • motivation
  • movement competence
  • youth sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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