The psychological benefits of Circus Skills Training (CST) in schoolchildren

Nick Neave, Angie Johnson, Kathryn Whelan, Karen McKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Physical exercise can enhance various aspects of character and education, but children may not engage due to a variety of barriers. Circus Skills Training (CST) is a novel approach to encourage participation in exercise and develop physical literacy. It delivers circus skills in a positive, non-competitive and supportive social atmosphere, making it particularly appealing to those who avoid traditional competitive team sports. In a between-subjects design we compared 2 groups of children (aged 9–12) on various measures of physical and psychological wellbeing at baseline, and again after one group had received 6 months of CST training as part of their school’s physical education classes. Significant differences between CST and none-CST children were found for teacher ratings of emotional problems, with the CST-group showing fewer such problems. CST could offer an innovative means of encouraging children to engage with exercise and provide wider benefits in terms of psychological wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-497
Number of pages10
JournalTheatre, Dance and Performance Training
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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