Participation in extracurricular activities in the middle school years: Are there developmental benefits for African American and European American youth?

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Fredricks, J.A., and Jacquelynne S. Eccles. 2008. "Participation in extracurricular activities in the middle school years: Are there developmental benefits for African American and European American youth?" Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(9): 1029-1043.

In this study, we examined the associations between organized activity participation during early adolescence and adjustment in a large and economically diverse sample of African American and European American youth. The sample included 1,047 youth (51% female and 49% male and 67% African American and 33% European American). We used analysis of covariance techniques to examine links between participation in 8th grade school clubs, school sports teams, and out of school recreational activities and adjustment at 8th and 11th grade, controlling for a set of self-selection factors measured at 7th grade prior to activity involvement. Organized activity participation was associated with higher than expected grades, school value (i.e. perception of importance of school for the future), self-esteem, resiliency, and prosocial peers, and lower than expected risky behavior, though the pattern of findings differed by activity context, outcome, and time point. In a few of the models, the relation between activity participation and adjustment varied by gender, race, and socioeconomic status.

10.1007/s10964-008-9309-4

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