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Skate parks beneficial for adolescents

February 23, 2010
The popular perception that skateboarders are anti-social vandals is inaccurate according to new research. The study, funded by Griffith University and the Gold Coast City Council, and published in the Journal of Adolescent Research, demonstrates that skate parks are positive environments for adolescents.
Psychologist, Graham Bradley, observed Gold Coast skate parks over 20 sessions, and interviewed about 600 people for his year-long study. He found little evidence to suggest skateboarders were in conflict with their families or engaged in anti-social behaviour such as vandalism.
Professor Bradley explained "despite polarised attitudes to skate parks, park users reported levels of personal adjustment and social integration similar to those of other adolescents.
"Most skaters seemed respectful of each other, of their skate parks, and of skateboarding customs and rules. Skaters as a whole were not alienated from mainstream institutions like family and school."
There was no evidence of fighting, bullying, intimidation or damaging of public property. During the times of observations, the parks were peaceful and harmonious places.
Despite overcrowding in the skate parks, different skill levels and little supervision, most participants abided by the norms of taking turns and sharing the available space.
Professor Bradley said that skate parks were shown to be valuable in youth development, adding "as well as encouraging physical activity and skills development, skate parks provide opportunities for young males to develop social skills such as co-operation, turn-taking and conflict resolution."

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