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Assessing the Relationship Between Youth Sport Participation Settings and Creativity in Adulthood

This article presents an assessment of the relative influences of time spent participating in organized sports and informal sports during childhood with respect to the development of general creativity. In this study, 99 upper-division undergraduate and graduate students completed a comprehensive childhood leisure activities questionnaire and the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults. According to the results of the joint generalized least-squares regression analysis, hours spent in organized sport settings was negatively related to creativity as an adult; time spent in unstructured sport settings was found to be positively related to adult creativity. The findings also point to the importance of balancing participation across organized and unstructured settings. The most creative individuals in the sample were those who spent roughly half of their sport participation time in each setting, as opposed to individuals with below-average creativity, who spent upwards of 3/4 of their sport participation time in organized settings. Therefore, fostering creative development through sport may not require a dramatic reorientation from current youth sport development models, but only a shift toward a more balanced distribution of time spent playing in both organized and unstructured settings. Future experiments are needed to test this relationship.