Science

Scout Groups Help Kids To Be Better Adults, Study Says

By Christie Abagon , Nov 11, 2016 01:41 AM EST
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A group of Scottish researchers studied data from the National Child Development Study of about 10,000 people across the UK with participants who were all born in November 1958.  Around 25 percent of the participants had been Scouts or Guides as youngsters. 

Mental Health Benefits For Scouts Or Guides

According to researchers, those who had belonged to the Scouts or Guides tended to have better mental health at the age of 50.  Former Scouts or Guides were also about 15% less likely to suffer from anxiety or mood disorders, compared with others in the study. 

Lead researcher Professor Chris Dibben of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, said: "It is quite startling that this benefit is found in people so many years after they have attended Guides or Scouts.  We expect the same principles would apply to the Scouts and Guides of today and so, given the high costs of mental ill health to individuals and society, a focus on voluntary youth programmes such as the Guides and Scouts might be very sensible."

Joining Programs For Scouts Or Guides Help Build Resilience In To Combat Life Stressors

Researchers say that the study shows that programs that help children develop skills such as self-reliance and teamwork, and encourage being active outdoors, may have lifelong benefits.  Joining the Scouts or Guides could help build resilience against common stresses in life and could increase a person's chances of achieving more in life.  

According to Professor Richard Mitchell of the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health at the University of Glasgow, governments and health services around the world "struggle to do something about the health gap between richer and poorer people, so this new evidence that being a Scout or Guide can help is very important."

Chief Scout at the Scout Association, Bear Grylls said: "I am really proud that Scouting provides young people with an opportunity to develop the skills they need to be resilient and deal with what life throws at them.  Through initiatives such as our A Million Hands Campaign, the Scout Association is helping give young people the ability to develop mental wellbeing throughout their lives."

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