Study finds abused or neglected children who play sports are less likely to develop mental illness

Taking part in sport protects children who are abused or neglected from developing mental health problems in later life, according to a major public health study.

People who had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) but regularly played sports as children were less likely to have a mental illness as an adult, the study found. People who had traumatic childhoods were also more likely to be mentally healthy if they took part in sport as adults.

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".