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Scouts And Guides Grow Up To Have Better Mental Health


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

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"I promise that I will do my best..." SasinTipchai/Shutterstock

Let's crack out the neckerchieves and get dyb, dyb, dyb-ing. The mental health benefits of being part of the scouts or girl guides when you’re younger is “startling”, according to a new study.

Scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland analyzed the data from a study that follows the lives of 10,000 people across the UK who were born in November 1958, called the National Child Development Study. Their study was recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.


A quarter of the participants had been either a scout or guide. This group was 15 percent less likely to suffer from anxiety or mood disorders at age 50.

These findings are particularly interesting, considering their research did not find the same trend with any other youth group, church group, or voluntary group. Additionally, the scouts and guides came from a variety of social backgrounds, suggesting that it is linked with other factors such as family income or social background.

"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," Professor Richard Mitchell, of the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health at the University of Glasgow, said in a statement.

Although the study didn’t strictly look to the cause for this correlation, the researchers suggested it is perhaps because these programs promote self-reliance, resilience, confidence, teamwork, physical activity, and a love for being outdoors.


"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," said Bear Grylls, Chief Scout of the Scout Association, TV personality, and popular meme. "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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  • mental health,

  • mental illness,

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  • childhood,

  • scouts,

  • guides