The poll, conducted by over 1000 participants aged 13-25, split role models into five separate categories, one of which being sports people.
The City duo picked up 19% and 11% of the vote respectively while Bronze, who placed eighth overall, received 6%.
The survey was taken in advance of stem4’s Youth Mental Health Day on 7 September.
The theme of this year’s event is #StrideForward, with a focus on building back confidence and positive mental health following the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Sterling was recently awarded an MBE for services to Racial Equality in Sport in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, putting his name behind the United Nations’ #FightRacism campaign and launching his own foundation aimed at helping disadvantaged young people.
The winger has consistently promoted awareness of racial and social injustice, which includes spearheading a campaign in aid of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Bronze was one of the players to get behind that campaign, and has also recently become involved in the new Hope United movement, aimed at tackling online abuse.
According to stem4, the most common qualities sought after by participants were their role models' 'bravery and resilience' as well as the fact that “they stand up for people’s rights”.
Based on this, it comes as no surprise to see the City trio place towards the top of the vote.
Dr Nihara Krause, Clinical Psychologist and Founder and CEO at stem4, said of Sterling, Foden and England teammate, Rashford: “(Their) determination and courage have not only changed policy in some cases, they are inspiring a young generation to take positive action, for themselves and their communities.
“Youth Mental Health Day on 7th September will allow each young person across the UK to kick-start their own journeys of positive action.
“Through setting positive goals on anything meaningful to them… the #StrideForward campaign will invite them to overcome barriers such as anxiety and low confidence, and find a path that will help them to build strong physical and mental health.”
For more information on stem4 and their Youth Mental Health Day, click here.