Participation in school-based extracurricular activities and adolescent adjustment

Nancy Darling, Linda L. Caldwell, Robert Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines the association between participation in school-based extracurricular activities (ECAs) and adolescent adjustment (drinking, marijuana use, grades, academic attitudes and academic aspirations) among students from six high schools. Three major issues were addressed: the potential confounding of selective ECA participation by better adjusted students and measures of adjustment, variability in the strength of the association between ECA participation and adjustment as a function of adolescent demographic characteristics and activity type, and the role of peers as mediators of the association between ECA participation and adjustment. Adolescents who participated in ECAs reported higher grades, more positive attitudes toward schools, and higher academic aspirations once demographic characteristics and prior adjustment were controlled. Alcohol and marijuana use were not independently associated with ECA participation. The ECA-adjustment association did not vary by demographic characteristics and did not appear to be mediated by peer characteristics. Those who participated in non-sport ECAs reported consistently better adjustment than those who did not participate in ECAs and those who participate in sports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-76
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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