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Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

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Developmental Review
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/dr

Recent advances in research on school-based extracurricular


activities and adolescent development
Amy Feldman Farb a,⇑, Jennifer L. Matjasko b
a
Office of Adolescent Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, United States
b
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Updating a previous systematic review of the literature, this review
Received 7 October 2010 summarizes the literature over the last 5 years on the relationship
Revised 7 October 2011 between school-based extracurricular activity participation and
Available online 3 December 2011
academic achievement, substance use, sexual activity, psychologi-
cal adjustment, and delinquency. The review also considers medi-
Keywords:
ators and moderators of these relationships. This review also
Extracurricular activities
Adolescents discusses recent advances in activity research including participa-
Academic achievement tion measurement (intensity, breadth, and duration), person-cen-
Substance use tered approaches, and an exploration of the overscheduling
Well-being hypothesis. The review reveals a mixed picture of the relationship
Delinquency between activity participation and these adolescent developmental
Person-centered approach outcomes. A call for continued exploration into measurement
Intensity issues, analysis approaches, outcome measures, and causal models
Breadth
of activities and adolescent functioning is made.
Duration
Published by Elsevier Inc.

Introduction

Research examining the role of extracurricular activities in child and adolescent development has
been underway for decades. First studied by sociologists in the 1960s, economists joined in the 1970s,
and in the last couple of decades psychologists have made a significant contribution to the field and
have focused on the developmental aspects of activity participation and their impact on individual
functioning over time. Holland and Andre’s (1987) activity review brought together 20 years of the
research literature on youths’ extracurricular activity involvement, uncovering primarily positive
associations between participation and adolescent functioning. In an effort to update and expand

⇑ Corresponding author. Address: Office of Adolescent Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1101 Wootton
Parkway, Suite 700, Rockville, MD 20852, United States.
E-mail address: amy.farb@hhs.gov (A.F. Farb).

0273-2297/$ - see front matter Published by Elsevier Inc.


doi:10.1016/j.dr.2011.10.001
2 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

Holland and Andre’s prior synthesis, we summarized the psychological, sociological, behavioral
sciences, education, and sport psychology literatures on adolescent extracurricular activity participa-
tion published since that 1987 review, covering literature published in the early 1980s through 2004
(Feldman & Matjasko, 2005). In that 20-year span of literature, we identified and presented 36 new
empirical publications on the relationship between participation and adolescent development. In that
review, we integrated findings from across these disciplines to provide a comprehensive picture of: (a)
the rates of school-based extracurricular activity participation, (b) the associations between such par-
ticipation and developmental outcomes, and (c) the current understanding of mediators and moder-
ators of participation, in order to provide a more complete understanding of the link between activity
participation and adolescent development.
In the years since that publication, the study of extracurricular activity involvement has grown
exponentially, and significant strides have been made in many of the areas we called to research-
ers’ attention in our 2005 review. In the short 5 years since that publication, we identified 52 new
empirical study publications with the same search criteria, nearly 1.5 times as many as were pub-
lished in the 20 years prior. The literature has moved towards a developmental approach to mea-
suring activities, considering mediators and moderators, and attempting to reduce selection bias in
estimates of the relationship between extracurricular activity participation and adolescent func-
tioning. Since the time of our last review, a large shift in examining extracurricular activities
has occurred around capturing the important dimensions of activity involvement, namely breadth,
intensity, and duration of activity participation. A recent review (Bohnert, Fredricks, & Randall,
2010) explores the theoretical, methodological, and practical issues of measuring these dimensions.
The authors present evidence demonstrating important differences between activity participants in
the nature of their involvement that appear to be related to developmental outcomes. That review
focuses only on studies that utilized at least one of the breadth, intensity or duration dimensions
of involvement with the goal of identifying best practices for assessing activity involvement. While
the current review considers these dimensions of activity involvement, we also consider a wider
range of studies in order to summarize the relationship between participation and adolescent
adjustment. Coupled with the fact that policymakers continue to make substantial federal invest-
ments in after school programs (Afterschool Alliance.org, 2010; American Recovery & Reinvestment
Act, 2009; Whitehouse.gov, 2010), this current review serves to: (1) update our previous review of
the activity research literature by integrating the literature on extracurricular activities and adoles-
cent development between 2004 and 2009; (2) discuss advances in this research area relative to
the important areas we noted in the previous review (i.e., measurement of activities, exploration
of moderators and mediators, use of longitudinal datasets); and (3) highlight areas for future
research.

Theoretical background

The developmental–ecological model of development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Szapocznik & Coats-


worth, 1999) can explain the relationship between extracurricular activity participation and adoles-
cent adjustment. The ecological part of the approach highlights that individual development is
influenced by ongoing qualities of the settings in which adolescents live and the extent and nature
of the interaction between these settings (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, 1998). For adolescents, development
is influenced by their own characteristics and how they interact with their families, peers, schools,
communities, and larger societal influences (e.g., policies). One implication of these interactions be-
tween contexts is that the impact of major developmental influences, such as extracurricular activity
participation, depends upon the characteristics of the activities (Mahoney, Larson, & Eccles, 2005).
Thus, the relationship between extracurricular activity participation and adolescent adjustment might
differ depending on the characteristics of the peers who are also participating in the activity, the char-
acteristics of the adults leading the activity, and the experiences that adolescents have outside of the
extracurricular activity context (Mahoney et al., 2005).
In addition to context, the developmental–ecological approach allows for the importance of various
contexts to change according to the developmental stage of the individual. Attributing changes in
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 3

participation to changes in adjustment over the course of adolescence is challenging because rates of
participation may follow the same developmental pattern as adolescent risk-taking. For example,
youth move from sampling a broader range of activities to focusing their participation hours on a par-
ticular activity or small number of activities over their developmental progression (Rose-Krasnor,
Busseri, Willoughby, & Chalmers, 2006). A recent Institute of Medicine Report (2011) documented
how sexual activity, substance use, delinquency, and psychological adjustment changes over the
course of adolescence. They found that engagement in risky behavior and emotional problems begin
to increase during early adolescence and continue to increase over the course of adolescence. Given
that participation and adjustment follow distinctive developmental patterns, it is difficult to establish
a causal relationship between participation and adjustment. The research presented in our review
should be interpreted with this in mind.

Methodology

First, we conducted a literature search using the ISI Web of Knowledge Search and the ERIC data-
base utilizing the keywords and phrases ‘‘adolescent,’’ ‘‘extracurricular activities,’’ ‘‘after-school activ-
ities,’’ ‘‘high school,’’ and ‘‘participation.’’ We then conducted a cited reference search on Google
Scholar to identify any additional articles that cited our 2005 review. We limited the search to articles
published between 2004 and 2009, and to US and Canadian studies. Next, we narrowed the pool of
articles to those involving school-based and community-based activities, participation by adolescents
ages 12–19, and empirical articles. We also included longitudinal studies that sampled young adults,
as long as they measured extracurricular activity participation during adolescence. In contrast to our
last review, rather than limiting the review to articles that were clearly about school-based activities,
we included articles if they had school-based activities or a combination of community and school-
based activities. We made this decision based on the fact that many adolescents engage in both
school- and community-based activities and due to some measurement limitations that we encoun-
tered (described below). We excluded unpublished dissertations or publications and articles that
did not address academic, social, emotional, or behavioral outcomes when extracurricular activity par-
ticipation was included as an independent variable in the analysis.
In our last review, activity participation was defined as any school-based extracurricular activity
that individuals participated in during adolescence-primarily middle and high school students. These
activities were typically organized and supported by schools and primarily occur on school grounds. In
line with our prior review, research has yet to fully characterize and understand the role that commu-
nity-based activities and activities organized by community youth centers or religious centers play in
adolescent development. Some work suggests that they are distinct from school-based activities and
warrant a review of their own (Gerber, 1996). Despite our efforts to focus on school-based extracur-
ricular activities, disentangling non-school-based activities from school-based ones was not always
possible. Therefore, non-school-based activities were included if we were unable to ascertain whether
the activity was school-sponsored or community-based (in these cases we preferred to err on the side
of inclusion). As mentioned, the new literature synthesized in this review includes studies published
between 2004 and 2009.
The review is structured to demonstrate the complexities in the relationship between adolescent
extracurricular activity participation and developmental outcomes based on the sophistication with
which the nature of participation is measured. The review is organized in the following manner: (a)
a description of some of the recent advances in research on extracurricular activity participation in
the areas of activity measurement; (b) a consideration of the ‘‘overscheduling hypothesis;’’ and (c)
a description of the relationship between extracurricular activity participation and adolescent func-
tioning by outcome measure (i.e., academic, behavioral, and psychological outcomes). Within each
of these subsections, the literature is organized according to definitions and datasets, the measure
of participation, the dimensions of participation (i.e., participation intensity, breadth, and duration),
and person-centered approaches to participation. Finally, we highlight some promising areas for fu-
ture research. First, we briefly describe the prior evidence on extracurricular activity involvement
and adolescent functioning.
4 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

Prior evidence on the links between extracurricular activity involvement and adolescent
functioning

According to Holland and Andre’s (1987) review, studies published before 1987 generally found po-
sitive relationships between activity participation and healthy adolescent development. At the time,
almost all studies on extracurricular activity participation focused on athletics. In the nearly 20 years
between their review and ours (Feldman & Matjasko, 2005), many studies replicated those earlier
findings while refining sampling and analysis techniques. A few studies expanded the literature by
examining areas beyond athletics to include a wide range of activities and additional developmental
outcomes such as substance use; as a result, the associated effects of extracurricular activity partici-
pation were mixed, and in a few cases activity participation was linked to negative adolescent out-
comes and risky behavior (e.g., sports participation was related to higher levels of substance use in
general and higher rates of sexual activity for male athletes).
Our last review also found that many more datasets were added to the literature, including a mix of
large, nationally representative samples and smaller, less representative samples. However, findings
were rarely organized by sample or study type (i.e., longitudinal or cross-sectional) making it difficult
to understand whether the nature of the sample explained some of the differences in the findings be-
tween studies. We concluded that further investigation into differences by datasets (representative vs.
not) or analyses (longitudinal vs. cross-sectional) may shed additional light on the relationship be-
tween adolescent extracurricular activity and developmental outcomes. Gender and type of activity
were being explored as either moderators or mediators and findings on adolescent outcomes often de-
pended on inclusion of those variables, another area we noted for further investigation.
Additionally, very little had been done in the way of accounting for selection bias, or the idea that
adolescents with certain characteristics that are related to better functioning are also selecting into
extracurricular activity participation. Not accounting for selection may result in an upwardly biased
estimate of the relationship between activity participation and adolescent functioning. While some
studies included many variables related to participation and to the outcomes as controls, most data-
sets did not contain information on individuals prior to participation and there were no randomized
experiments that can be used to account for selection. Therefore, we concluded in our review that it is
impossible to draw broad conclusions regarding the beneficial effects of extracurricular activities.

Recent advancements

Measurement of participation

In our 2005 review, we suggested that the field could benefit from an understanding of the dy-
namic nature of adolescent extracurricular activity participation, and how patterns of activity involve-
ment are related to developmental outcomes. We argued that extracurricular activity participation is
not a static variable and that there is a fair amount of within-individual variability in participation
over time. When we conducted that review, few studies adequately captured the dynamic nature of
activity involvement, including the range of activities in which adolescents participated in at any point
in time. Research did find, however, that continuity in activity participation might be associated with
positive developmental outcomes such as educational aspirations, college attendance, and prosocial
behaviors (Mahoney, Cairns, & Farmer, 2003; Zaff, Moore, Papillo, & Williams, 2003). Research also
demonstrated that the total number of extracurricular activities was also an important predictor of
adolescent functioning. In early research, it appeared that the more activities that the adolescent re-
ported, the better their developmental outcomes (e.g., social and academic self-concept, educational
aspirations, academic achievement, and subsequent college attendance (Gerber, 1996; Marsh,
1992)). However, other research at the time of the last review suggested a curvilinear relationship be-
tween number of activities and positive developmental outcomes, suggesting a threshold at which the
number of activities no longer has a beneficial relationship with developmental outcomes, particularly
related to risky behaviors and young adult social and academic outcomes (Marsh & Kleitman, 2002;
Zill, Nord, & Loomis, 1995). This is essentially the crux of the overscheduling hypothesis. We
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 5

concluded that there was a need to understand whether it is total number of activities or the type of
activities that are more important determinants of developmental outcomes.

Intensity, breadth and duration

Since that review, significant advancements have been made in how extracurricular activity partic-
ipation is measured. Researchers’ characterization of the activity participation variable has grown in
complexity to include measures of breadth, intensity, and duration (see Bohnert et al. (2010) and Feld-
man Farb and Matjasko (2011) for reviews). By only comparing participants to non-participants,
important differences between adolescents’ participation is lost. For example, the participation expe-
rience for a youth involved in many different kinds of activities (breadth) may be different than the
experience of an adolescent who focuses more hours into less activities (intensity), and these differ-
ences may be related to developmental outcomes in meaningful ways.
In our recent review (Feldman Farb and Matjasko, 2011), we utilized a subset of the studies from
this review to demonstrate that researcher conceptualizations of these participation variables vary
greatly and are often linked to inconsistent and sometimes contradictory findings regarding adoles-
cent developmental outcomes. In that review, we provided a detailed summary and discussion on
the intensity, breadth, and duration of activity participation during adolescence defined as: (a) the
intensity of participation, or the time the adolescent spends in activities or the frequency with which
he or she participates; (b) the breadth of participation, or the total number of activities or total variety
of activities in which the adolescent participates; and (c) the duration of participation, or the length of
the adolescent’s participation over time. In contrast to the Bohnert et al. (2010) review, this review
linked detailed discussions of how each dimension of participation was created with the associated
developmental outcomes, including specifying the particular types of school-based activities that
were studied. In addition to including both school-based and community-based activities, it was be-
yond the scope of the Bohnert review to discuss findings related to type of activity, instead results
were discussed in relation to ‘‘organized’’ or ‘‘extracurricular’’ activities generally. We refer readers
to both reviews for in-depth discussions of these variations in measurement. In the current review,
when researchers investigated activity intensity, breadth, or duration in relation to a specific adoles-
cent outcome, we describe those studies below.

Person-centered approaches

Because adolescent extracurricular activity participation is a complex phenomenon, it is important


to complement the research with person-centered approaches (i.e., using cluster analysis or similar
techniques to characterize individuals on the basis of several measures). We called for this kind of
analysis in our last review (Feldman & Matjasko, 2005). We stated that once a better understanding
of the associations between individual activities and adolescent adjustment was achieved, it is impor-
tant to understand patterns of participation and we conducted a person-centered examination of ado-
lescent activity participation in a later paper (Feldman & Matjasko, 2007).
The person-centered approach is thought to reflect a more holistic view by identifying adolescents
who share features that contribute to their development (Roeser & Peck, 2003). In the examination of
extracurricular activity involvement, Linver, Roth, and Brooks-Gunn (2009) explain, ‘‘. . .this approach
identifies patterns, or portfolios, of involvement, essentially grouping adolescents on the basis of their
shared participation in specific activities. These portfolios more closely resemble the reality of youths’
lives because they incorporate the complexity of their activity participation’’ (p. 356). We included de-
tailed discussions in each outcome section when researchers investigated extracurricular activity par-
ticipation with person-centered approaches.

Threshold effects: the overscheduling hypothesis

In addition to the measurement of activity participation, researchers have also advanced more
complex hypotheses regarding the relationship between activity participation and adolescent out-
comes. Specifically, studies have tested the ‘‘overscheduling hypothesis,’’ referring to the theory that
6 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

questions whether there is a threshold at which activity participation no longer has a beneficial rela-
tionship to adolescent outcomes. In the time since our last review, the notion that children’s lives are
being over scheduled with too many organized activities has been a popular topic of discussion and
public concern. Primarily, this was due to popular media reports (for a comprehensive review, see
Mahoney, Harris, & Eccles, 2006). At the time, the perception was that parents or other adults were
exerting external pressure on adolescents to participate in activities, and this came at the cost of fam-
ily time.
We identified three studies that have explored the ‘‘oversheduling’’ hypothesis. Luthar, Shoum, and
Brown (2006) performed a cluster analysis in order to see if there is a group of adolescents who are
‘‘overscheduled.’’ Their results showed no evidence of a distinct overscheduled group that was exces-
sively committed to multiple extracurricular activities (in terms of the number of hours). For girls,
there was a unique cluster that included very high hours in academic activities and a larger, normative
group with near-average participation in all activities except for academics. They found that perceived
parental criticism and lack of after-school supervision explained the relationship between activity
cluster membership and adjustment. As the developmental–ecological model highlights, it is critical
to study participation in context (i.e., in concert with the family, school, and neighborhood contexts),
and future work should account for these contexts in understanding the relationship between partic-
ipation and adolescent adjustment.
Two studies explored the relationship between being overscheduled and psychological adjustment
(i.e., is there a threshold at which activity participation is associated with poorer psychological adjust-
ment?). Melman, Little, and Akin-Little (2007) examined self-reports of anxiety, depression, and phys-
ical complaints in a cross-sectional sample of 10–12th graders enrolled in a health class. The authors
found that the greater the amount of time students reported participating in activities—that included
school-related and non-school-related activities, domestic responsibilities and employment—the
higher their self-reported level of anxiety. Time spent in activities was unrelated to depression or
somatization. This small sample was predominantly White, from middle to higher SES families, and
most went onto college and many to Ivy League schools. While the study did not find a threshold ef-
fect, they did demonstrate that it is important to account for the full range of activities—from extra-
curricular to work to family responsibilities—in order to understand the time and scheduling demands
on youth.
Mahoney et al. (2006) used data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (Hill, 1991)—a large,
nationally representative, cross-sectional sample of 15–18 year olds—in order to examine whether
there was a threshold at which activity participation was associated with lower self-esteem and emo-
tional well-being and more substance use. The authors found that American adolescents spent
approximately 5 hours per week participating in organized activities. In contrast, alternative leisure
activities such as television, educational activities, and playing games, consumes a greater proportion
of their time outside of school. The authors found that a small subgroup of youth (i.e., 3–6%) spend 20
or more hours per week participating in organized extracurricular activities, and that more time par-
ticipating in organized activities was generally related to positive outcomes. However, there was a
point of diminishing returns to the benefits of extracurricular activity participation that varied by race.
For Black youth, the self-esteem of those participating 20+ hours per week was significantly lower
than Black youth who did not participate in organized activities. This might be explained by the fact
that Black youth who spend 20+ hours per week in extracurricular activities tended to have less fre-
quent discussions with parents compared to their counterparts spending less time participating per
week. All adolescents who also reported participating for more than 15 hours a week (15:00–19:59
and 20+ hours groups) also reported more alcohol use compared to adolescents who spent less than
15 hours a week participating in organized activities. However, their alcohol use was still significantly
lower than non-participants. The authors argued that based on their results, researchers should at-
tempt to understand the group of non-participants because they tended to have lower emotional
well-being and self-esteem. However, based on the scarcity of research on the overscheduling hypoth-
esis, future work should continue to explore this hypothesis and understand the mediators and mod-
erators of the relationship between the number of hours that adolescents participate in organized
extracurricular activities and adjustment.
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 7

Current evidence on the links between extracurricular activity involvement and adolescent
functioning

Table 1 provides a detailed account of the associations between extracurricular activities and the
outcomes discussed here, as presented in the research between 2004 and 2009. Below, we summarize
the results related to academic, substance use, sexual activity, psychological adjustment, and delin-
quency outcomes.

Academic performance and educational attainment outcomes

Definitions and datasets


Academic performance has been defined as grade point average, standardized test scores, and edu-
cational aspirations and attainment. We identified 24 recent studies that defined academic perfor-
mance as grades, academic attitudes (liking school, wanting to attend school, school bonding), and
academic aspirations. These studies utilized a mix of large, nationally representative samples and
smaller, less representative samples. The studies represent a mix of analyses, eleven studies perform-
ing longitudinal analyses, ten performing cross-sectional analyses, and three performing both with
their data. Where we could identify the years of data collection, two-thirds of the studies collected
data in the 1980s or 1990s, while another one-third collected their data in the early 2000s. Many of
the studies with early data collections utilized the large, nationally representative datasets such as
the National Education Longitudinal Study and High School and Beyond.

Current evidence
Use of general participation categories. Two of these 24 recent studies used a dichotomous measure of
activity participation (i.e., participants/non-participants). Dumais (2009) examined the relationship
between school-sponsored activities and math achievement test scores and college expectations.
Using two large nationally-representative longitudinal samples (10th grade participation on 12th
grade outcomes) and controlling for prior achievement, the author compared two cohorts, National
Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2000) and Education
Longitudinal Study of 2002 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2006). The author found that par-
ticipation in school-sponsored activities in 10th grade was associated with higher math scores and
higher expectations for going to college in 12th grade in both cohorts.
Although Dotterer, McHale, and Crouter (2007) examined the association between various kinds of
out-of-school activities and academic outcomes in their cross-sectional analysis, they grouped all
school activities into a single category—sports/extracurricular activities—that included organized
sports, student government, yearbook, drama, theater, and scouts. Other outside activities included
reading, doing homework, watching television, and ‘‘hanging out.’’ Focusing solely on African Ameri-
can adolescents in 6–9th grade, time spent in extracurricular activity was positively related to school
self-esteem and school bonding but unrelated to school grades.
In a different type of investigation, Barnett (2007) conducted an examination of how girls re-
sponded to being selected for a competitive dance team or cheerleading squad. In this longitudinal
analysis, girls who were not selected reported negative feelings about school, and their classroom per-
formance deteriorated after the selection process. Girls who made the team temporarily reported in-
creased school bonding. This study is unique in that it considers youth who are eligible to participate
and have a desire to participate but are rejected through competition. This study demonstrates that
the details of activity participation may be an important factor to consider in adolescent adjustment.
Below, we discuss more nuanced characterizations of extracurricular activity participation and aca-
demic achievement.

Use of detailed activity-type categories. Seven recent studies examined the relationship between spe-
cific kinds of activity participation (e.g., sports, art, academic clubs, student government, etc.) and ado-
lescent academic outcomes. Most found a positive relationship between adolescent activity
participation and academic outcomes. Furthermore, an additional study suggests that factors other
Table 1

8
The 52 empirical studies published between 2004 and 2009 meeting inclusion criteria for the current review.

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Barnes et al. (2007) Longitudinal dataset  Frequency of drinking five or Time use for nine activities: Controls: gender, race, family SES Extracurricular activities and
on the development of more drinks at a time homework, extracurricular activities/ hobbies-modest protective influence
alcohol use Cigarette smoking in the past individual hobbies, sports time, on sexual activity
30 days relaxing alone, paid work, housework
N = 606 15–18 year  Illicit drug use or caring for younger family Sports involvement – less cigarette
olds members, television watching, family smoking and illicit drug use
Cross-sectional  Delinquency time, peer time
analysis  Sexual activity
Barnett (2007) Three high schools in  Mood/emotional state  Winners/losers group None Girls who were not successful –

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


the Midwest feelings about themselves and their
school, and classroom performance
were negatively impacted, remaining
for 2 months
N = 173 15–17 year old  Investment  Group  time interaction w/ Use of drugs and alcohol not affected
females MANOVA
Longitudinal analysis  Arousal
 Positive and negative
emotions
 Feelings about self
 Liking school
 Wanting to attend school
 Absenteeism/ truancy
 Academicperformance
Bohnert and Garber Longitudinal study of  12th grade outcomes:  9–12th grade activities Controls: SES, 8th grade internalizing, Lower activity involvement-higher
(2007) risk and internalizing and externalizing, psychiatric disorders externalizing, increased odds of a
psychopathology externalizing symptoms behavior or substance use disorder,
increased tobacco use
N = 198 12th graders  Psychiatric diagnoses  Risk (i.e., maternal depression) Risk and functioning not moderated
Cross-sectional  Tobacco use  Risk  activities interaction by activities
analysis
Bohnert et al. Public schools in  Depressive symptoms  Active structured activities Mediators: positive affect, alienation Adolescents living in more cohesive
(2009) Chicago and less dangerous neighborhoods
and more involved in passive
unstructured activities, had higher
levels of depressive symptoms
N = 246 African  Delinquency  Active unstructured activities Moderator: neighborhood Adolescents living in dangerous
American 5–8th environment neighborhoods and involved in active
graders unstructured activities, had higher
delinquency
Cross sectional  Passive unstructured activities Depressive symptoms and
analysis delinquency did not mediate
activities and outcomes
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Busseri et al., 2006 Youth Lifestyle Choices  Breadth  Breadth Controls: age, sex, parental education Greater increases in breadth at Time
Community-University 1-less Time 2 risk behavior, more
Research Alliance positive interpersonal functioning,
Project (YLC-CURA) in higher scores on successful
Southern Ontario development composite. Strongest for
school district those reporting lower levels of Time 1

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


breadth
N = 401 high school  Intensity  Intensity Greater intensity at Time 1-more
students Time 2 risk behavior and
Longitudinal analysis  Successful development (risk  Successful development (same as interpersonal functioning
behaviors, well-being, DV)
academic orientation,  Change in breadth
interpersonal functioning)  Change in intensity
Chambers and National Education Achievement (math, reading, Extracurricular Activities: Controls: ethnicity, SES 8th grade: ISAO and OSANO positively
Schreiber (2004) Longitudinal Study science, and geography) related to all achievement. OSNANO
(NELS:88) with TV negatively related to math,
reading, and science. Findings varied
by activity type and race
N = 4382 8th and 10th  In-school academic organized 10th grade: ISAO and OSANO
grade girls (ISAO) positively related to all achievement.
Cross-sectional  In-school non-academic organized More OSNANO, positively related to
analyses (ISNAO) reading and OSNANO with TV
 Out-of-school non-academic negatively related to all achievement.
organized (OSNAO) Findings varied by activity type and
 Out-of-school non-academic non- race
organized (OSNANO)
 Out-of-school academic non-
organized (OSANO)
Cohen et al. (2007) 2002 Survey of Los  # of extracurricular sports % Of disadvantaged students at each Controls: racial/ethnic composition, % No evidence of a relationship
Angeles County public programs available school of households below poverty line between school-level participation in
high schools sports programs and juvenile arrests
N = 175 high schools  % Of students in each school  Schools’ academic performance and teen birth rates
participating in these index score
programs
Cross-sectional  Juvenile arrest rates
analysis  Teen birth rates
 STD rates

(continued on next page)

9
10
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Darling (2005) N = 3761 CA high  Substance use  Current activity participation Controls: grade, ethnicity, gender Participating adolescents – lower
school students levels of smoking, marijuana use, and
use of other drugs. No difference in
drinking. Higher grades, positive
attitudes toward school, higher
academic aspirations. No difference in
depressive symptoms
Cross-sectional  Depressive symptoms  Cumulative participation More time spent on activities-higher
analysis grades and academic aspirations. No

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


relation to substance use, depression,
or academic attitudes
 Academic performance and  # hours/week of participation More years of participation – less
orientation marijuana use, higher grades, and a
more positive attitude toward school
 Academic aspirations  Life events stress
Darling et al. (2005) N = 4264 for cross-  Alcohol and marijuana use  Current extracurricular activity Mediator: student’s five closest Participation – lower marijuana use,
sectional (using year participation friends higher grades and academic
two of above study) aspirations, more positive attitudes
towards school. No relation to
drinking
N = 2462 for  Academic adjustment  Activity type-sports, performing Controls: grade, gender, parents’ Sports – higher alcohol use than both
longitudinal analysis (grades, attitude towards groups, leadership groups, interest education, ethnicity non-participants and those who
(using years 1 and 2 of school, academic clubs participated in other types of
above study) aspirations) activities
Cross-sectional and Non-participants – highest marijuana
longitudinal analyses use. Non-sports participants-lowest
marijuana use. Similar pattern for
grades, attitudes toward school, and
academic aspirations
No evidence for peer group as
mediator
Denault and Poulin Quebec, Canada  Academic achievement  Target activity participation Controls: family income, prior Social integration into the activity
(2008) participation in target activity peer group was positively associated
with problem behavior and lower
grades, for boys only, and depressive
symptoms for the less adjusted youth
N = 115 6th and 7th  Problem behaviors  Mother and father involvement Moderator: prior academic Support from the activity leader was
grade students achievement negatively linked to boys’ problem
Longitudinal analysis  Depressive symptoms  Activity peer group and leaders behavior and depressive symptoms
 Persistence in participation
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Denault and Poulin Quebec, Canada  Grade 11 academic 7 Categories of school-based and non- Controls: academic orientation, risky Intensity and breadth positively
(2009) orientation-grades, academic school activities behaviors, and internalizing related to academic orientation and
aspirations, self perception problems, Family income civic development
of academic competence,
skipping class
N = 299 elementary  Risky behaviors-antisocial  Intensity No unique contributions were found
students, data behaviors, substance abuse, when breadth and intensity were
collected from grades unsafe sex considered simultaneously

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


7–11
Longitudinal analysis  Internalizing problems-  Breadth
depressive symptoms, self
worth, loneliness
 Civic development-
commitment to civil society,
environmental
sustainability, altruism
Denault et al. Quebec, Canada  Grades Intensity of activity participation in Controls: baseline academic Higher levels of sports participation –
(2009) each of three activity groups (sports, orientation, risky behaviors and steeper increase in alcohol use over
performing/fine arts, and youth internalizing problems, Family time
N = 362 7–10th  Alcohol drinking clubs) income Performance and fine arts-negatively
graders related to depressive symptoms.
Hours spent in grade 9 predicted
higher grades in grade 10
Longitudinal analysis  Depressive symptoms (CDI) Youth clubs – positively related to
grades, negatively related to alcohol
use. Higher levels of participation in
grade 7 predicted slower increase in
depressive symptoms
Dotterer et al. N = 140 6–9th grade  School self-esteem  Academically-oriented activities Controls: parents education, grade in Time spent in extracurricular
(2007) African-American school activities was positively related to
students school bonding and school self-
esteem
Cross-sectional  School bonding  Homework Time spent on homework positively
analysis related to school bonding
 Grades  Sports/extra-curricular activities Time spent watching TV negatively
related to school bonding and school
self-esteem
 Watching TV No relationship to school grades
 Hanging out

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12
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Dumais (2009) NELS: 88 and ELS 2002  Mathematics achievement Extracurricular activity participation: Controls: prior achievement and prior School activities positively related to
test scores expectations, race, gender, public math achievement scores, tv
N = 15,850 8th and  College expectations  School sponsored activities school, SES watching and hanging out with
10th graders friends negatively related. School
Longitudinal analysis  Time spent hanging out with friends activities positively related to college
 Time spent work at a job expectations in both cohorts,
 TV-watching spending time with friends negatively
 Time using computer for fun related to expectations, particularly
in later cohorts was time spent
reading

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


Dumais (2008) Educational  12th grade math IRT score  10th grade activities Controls: sex, race/ethnicity, public/ Time spent in school-sponsored
Longitudinal Study of (extracurricular, hanging out with private school activities-higher math test scores,
2002 friends, music/dance classes outside benefits of participation less for
of school, additional reading for students in the 3td and 4th SES
schoolwork, TV and videogames, quartiles
and employment)
N = 11,642 students  11th grade GPA  SES
sampled in 10th and
12th grades
Longitudinal analysis
Fauth et al. (2007) Project on Human  CBCL After-school time participation: Controls: youth characteristics, Sports participation related to
Development in maternal and family characteristics, decrease in anxious/depressed
Chicago neighborhood characteristics symptoms and increases in
Neighborhoods delinquency and substance use. Art
(PHDCN) and student government related
negatively to substance use.
Community-based clubs and church
groups not related to any outcomes.
Neighborhood violence heightened
positive association between
community-based clubs and anxious/
depressed symptoms
N = 1315 9 and 12 year  Youth delinquency  Duration of activity participation No activities related linearly to
olds anxiety/depression and delinquency
slopes. Sports related to further
increase in substance use over time,
art and student government
attenuated substance use growth.
Length of participation unrelated to
growth rates for sports, arts, student
government
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Longitudinal analysis  Substance use  Breadth of activity participation Breadth-unrelated to anxious/


depressed symptoms or substance
use. Youth’s delinquency scores
increased with breadth up to a
threshold, at which point scores
declined

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


Feldman and National Longitudinal Activity participation in 33  GPA Descriptive analysis Identified six mutually exclusive
Matjasko (2007) Study of Adolescent school-based clubs participation styles: sports only,
Health (Add Health) academic only, school only,
performance only, multiple activities,
and non-participants
N = 14,411 7–12th  Paid work Characteristics varied by profile but
graders multiple activity participants appear
Cross-sectional  Total # of activities to be a unique and high functioning
analysis  Grade level group
 Gender
 Ethnicity
 SES
 School region
 School urbanicity
 School size
Fleming et al. Raising Healthy  Antisocial behavior (6–8th  Structured/goal-oriented after- None Structured activities: in 6th and 7th
(2008) Children Project (RHC) grades) school activities (6–9th grade) grade was not related to misbehavior
in 6th and 8th grades. Negatively
correlated with delinquency at 8th
and 9th grades but structured
activities at 7th grade were not.
Participation in 7th and 8th grades
negatively correlated with
misbehavior in school and
delinquency across all time points
N = 776 middle-  Early adolescent delinquency  Unstructured after-school activities Unstructured activities: positively
schoolers (8th and 9th grades) (6–9th grade) related to misbehavior in school and
Cross-sectional and delinquency within and across time
Longitudinal analyses points. More strongly correlated to
self-report than teacher report

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14
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Fredricks and Eccles Maryland Adolescent  Academic adjustment: Extracurricular participation-clubs/ Controls: gender, race, family SES, 8th grade: school clubs related to
(2008) Development in grades, school value student government, sports, school engagement, prior levels of higher grades, school value,
Context Study organized summer/after school outcomes psychological resiliency, and
(MADICS) programs prosocial peers. Sports related to less
school value and more risky behavior.
SES moderated-athletes from higher
SES had less depression, reverse for
lower SES families. Race moderated-
European American athletes had

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


lower psychological resiliency than
non-athletes, not related for African
Americans
N = 855 7th graders  Psychological adjustment: 11th grade: clubs related to increase
sampled at three CDI, self-esteem, in psychological resiliency and
waves psychological resiliency prosocial peers. Race moderated GPA-
Cross-sectional and  Prosocial peers European Americans had lower
Longitudinal analysis  Risky Behavior decline in GPA, no difference for
African Americans. Gender
moderated school value-males had
lower decline, no difference for
females. Sports increased
psychological resiliency and
decreased school value. SES
moderated-lower SES athletes had
more prosocial peers, reverse for high
SES
Fredricks and Eccles Maryland Adolescent  Academic adjustment: 11th grade extracurricular activity Moderators: gender, race 11th grade: school clubs – positively
(2006) Development in grades, educational participation-school clubs, organized related to academic adjustment, less
Context Study expectations, educational sports, prosocial activities externalizing, no relation to self-
(MADICS) status 1 yr posthigh school esteem or depression. Race
moderated with internalizing (lower
for African Americans). Gender
moderated with substance use (lower
alcohol and marijuana use for boys,
no difference for girls)
N  1000 11th graders  Psychological adjustment: Controls: parents educational Sports-higher GPA and educational
CDI, self-esteem, CBCL attainment, parents perceptions of expectations, lower depression and
children’s achievement-related internalizing, higher self-esteem.
motivation, prior levels of outcome Gender moderated for externalizing
variables (lower for boys). Less alcohol use, less
marijuana use for boys and European
Americans
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Cross-sectional and  Alcohol and drug use Prosocial activities-higher


Longitudinal analyses educational expectations
 Civic engagement 1 year posthigh school:
Clubs-positively related to number of
years of schooling (particularly for
girls), political activity and charitable
involvement. Not related to self-

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


esteem or depression
Sports-more schooling. No relation to
depression, self-esteem, marijuana
use or charitable causes. Gender
moderated-girls alcohol use 2 years
later
Prosocial activities-positively related
to educational status, political activity
and charitable and social activity
involvement
Fredricks and Eccles Childhood and Beyond  School engagement  Activity involvement (team sports, Mediator: prosocial peers Sports: higher perceptions of school
(2005) Study (CAB) school involvement, performance belonging and higher alcohol use
arts, academic clubs)
N = 498 9th, 10th and  Psychological outcomes  Time spent in organized sports and Controls: gender, grade-level, parent School involvement – higher school
12th graders school clubs/ organizations education, GPA belonging, higher self-worth,
prosocial peers, and lower depression
Cross-sectional  Risk behaviors Performance art and academic club-
analysis lower alcohol use and more favorable
impression of their peer group
Prosocial peers mediated school clubs
and school belonging and school
affect. Also mediated activity
participation and depression
Gadbois and Canada  General self-esteem Extracurricular activity participation: Moderators: gender, gender role General self-esteem was significantly
Bowker (2007) N = 134 11th graders  Physical self-esteem  All athletic orientation-masculine/feminine related with girls’ masculine self-
Cross-sectional  Competitive athletics continuum description and participation in non-
analysis  Recreational athletics athletic activities. For boys, more
 Non-athletic years of competitive sports
participation predicted general self-
esteem

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15
16
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Gardner et al. National Education  Educational attainment- School and community-based Controls: gender, race/ethnicity, SES, More intensive participation was
(2008) Longitudinal Study postsecondary attendance, activities 10th and 12th grade scores on related to greater educational
(NELS:88) completion of 4 year degree standardized tests attainment, volunteering, and income
within 8 years of high school for 2-year participants, not related to
graduation voting, full-time employment
N = 11,029 students  Civic engagement-  Participation duration Duration of participation in school-
sampled in 10th and volunteering and voting-at 2 based activities associated with
12th grade and 8 years and 8 years after high school educational attainment

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after high school graduation
Longitudinal analysis  Occupational success-full  Participation intensity No significant relations between
time employment and duration and the odds of full-time
income employment or income
Gardner et al. Project on Human  Juvenile Delinquency  Participation in school or Mediators: prior externalizing Non-athletic activities related to less
(2009) Development in community sports problems, peer deviance, youth non-violent delinquency than athletic
Chicago leisure time use activities for boys. No difference
Neighborhoods between sports and no activities. Boys
(PHDCN) with higher prior externalizing and
non-athletic activities scored lower
on peer deviance than sports
participants
N = 1344 9 and 12 year  Violent or non-violent  Participation in non-athletic school Controls: race/ethnicity, family No association between sports
olds or community based activities structure, maternal education, youth participation and boys’ violent
Longitudinal analysis  No participation in sports or age delinquency and none between sports
activities participation and non-violent or
violent delinquency for girls
Guest and McRee National Longitudinal  Delinquency Participation in either sports, arts, or School-level characteristics EAP related to lower levels of
(2009) Study of Adolescent academic activities delinquency and depression
Health (AddHealth)
N = 13,466 7–12th  Depression
graders
Cross-sectional
analysis
Hartmann and Youth Development  General delinquency (fight,  High school sports participation Controls: most predictors of activity Sports participation increased the
Massoglia Study (YDS drunk driving, shoplifting, participation, crime, and mediators of odds of some types of antisocial
(2007) workplace deviance, the two behavior in early adulthood (i.e.,
providing alcohol for minors) speeding, driving drunk, and angry or
violent behavior at work) while
decreasing others types of crime (i.e.,
shoplifting, work fraud, and minor
traffic citations)
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

N = 763 29–30 year  Drunk driving  Years in sports Sport involvement was non-
olds, first surveyed as significant but sports importance and
high school freshmen years in sports negatively associated
with later-life shoplifting
Longitudinal analysis  Shoplifting  Sports importance Sport involvement, sport importance
and years in sports all related to more
drunk driving at age 30
Hoffmann (2006) National Education Alcohol use-in past 12 months  Athletic participation Controls: gender, ethnicity, GPA, For both males and females, athletic

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


Longitudinal Study family SES, parent involvement, participation related to increases in
(NELS:88) parent interest, school characteristics, alcohol use over the 2 year period,
peer dropout strongest for females in lower-SES
schools and males in higher-SES
schools
N = 9893 10–12th  Other extracurricular activity For males, participation in non-
graders participation athletic activities was associated with
Longitudinal analysis decreases in alcohol use, strongest for
males in low-minority population
schools
Hunt (2005) High school and  GPA  School and non-school activities Controls: sex, race, family EA participation was not related to
Beyond (HSB) background, locus of control improved grades or educational
N = 13,152 10th  Educational expectations  Total number of activities expectations. Better grades may lead
graders to more participation
Longitudinal analysis  12th grade EA participation  10th grade grades
Kreager (2007) National Longitudinal Serious fighting in the last year  Sports participation Controls: self esteem, SES, age, race, Contact sports: football players and
Study of Adolescent family structure, attachment to wrestlers more likely to be in fights
Health (AddHealth) parents, commitment to school, than other types of athletes
participation in non-athletic
extracurriculars, BMI, prior levels of
violence and risk behavior
N = 6397 7–12th grade  Type of sport (i.e., basketball) Mediator – friends’ athletic Males whose friends play football are
males participation more likely to be involved in a fight,
the more football friends
(proportionately), the greater the risk
Longitudinal analysis
Larson et al. (2006) Youth Experiences  Developmental experiences-  Organized activities: sports, fine Controls: frequency of participation, Faith based activities – higher rates
Survey (YES)/Youth identity work, initiative, arts, academic clubs/orgs # of hours/week in the activity, for all six domains of developmental
Activity Inventory emotional regulation, community activities, service work, gender, ethnicity, community SES, experiences, lower stress
(YAI) teamwork and social skills, faith based activities geographic region
positive relationships, adult
networks and social capital

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17
18
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

N = 2280 11th graders  Negative Experiences-stress,  Other: class, job, hanging out with Sports – lower rates of identity work,
inappropriate adult behavior, friends positive relationships, and adult
negative influences, social network experiences than other
exclusion, negative group organized activity participation,
dynamics slightly higher rates of stress
Cross-sectional Arts – higher rates of initiative
analysis experiences, lower rates of teamwork,
positive relationships, and adult
network experiences

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Academic clubs – lower scores for all
six scales of development,
particularly emotional regulation,
lower stress
Service activities – lower rates of
emotional regulation, higher rates for
all three scales of interpersonal
development
Little difference on the negative
experiences rates between activities
Linver et al. (2009) Child Development  Academic and social 5 Activity clusters: Controls: age, gender, ethnicity, Sports – positively associated with
Supplement of the competence public/private school, parent social well-being, school
Panel Study of Income education, family income, maternal connectedness, negatively with
Dynamics (PSID) work status, family structure, child cognitive scores, talking to parents
N = 1711 10–18 year  Confidence and positive  Sports-focused takes initiative/is persistent, orderly School – positively associated with
olds identity home environment, how rural or talking with parents, prosocial
urban the home environment is behavior, drinking behavior
Cross-sectional  Connections with school,  Sports plus other activities Religious groups – negatively
analysis peers, parents associated with drinking, positively
with giving to charity
 Character  School-based activities Low involvement cluster – generally
less positive development
 Caring  Religious youth groups Sports only – looked similar across all
outcome compared with school-
based activities and religious youth
groups
 Low activity involvement Sports plus other activities – better
adjusted than sports only
Linville and N = 235 8–12th  Weapon carrying-past  Time spent in extracurricular None Time in non-school clubs was
Huebner (2005) graders 30 days activities (school-based, non-school positively related to physical fighting
based, volunteering, church/ and weapon carrying for boys
religious activity)
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Cross-sectional  Physical fighting in last  Exercise Time in extracurricular activities and


analysis 12 months frequency of exercise were negatively
related, and time volunteering and #
of sports team memberships
positively related to physical fighting
for girls
 How many sports teams is the Church-negatively related to weapon

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


respondent on carrying
No activities related to female
weapon carrying
Lipscomb (2007) National Education  Math test scores  Involvement in school-sponsored Controls: family structure changes, Athletic participation-increased math
Longitudinal Study clubs and sports over last location, SES, self-esteem, private and science test scores
(NELS:88) 12 months school, enrollment size, cutting class,
N = 16,305 8th graders  Science test scores time devoted to other tasks Club participation-increased math
(homework, TV, work) scores
Longitudinal analysis  Educational expectations Involvement in either type-increased
educational expectations
Lleras (2008) National Educational  Educational attainment  10th grade achievement test scores Controls: family SES, gender, race/ Students with better social skills,
Longitudinal Study ethnicity, work 60+ h/wk, work habits, and extracurricular
occupational classification involvement had higher educational
and income attainment
N = 7656 10th graders  Earnings  10th grade non-cognitive ability Academics and sports in 10th grade,
not fine arts, related to greater
educational attainment 10 years later
and higher earnings. Fine arts related
to lower earnings. Minorities in fine
arts had higher earnings later in life
Longitudinal analysis  Motivation If the combination was sports and
academic activities but not fine arts,
it’s associated with greater
educational attainment 10 years later
 Sociability/cooperativeness Non-cognitive behaviors associated
 Politeness with 1/4 of the educational advantage
 Sports participation for high SES participants and more
 Academic participation important than cognitive skills for
 Fine arts participation female and Asian educational and
earnings advantage

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20
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Luthar et al. (2006) New England Study of  Internalizing symptoms  Parental criticism None Little evidence for deleterious effects
Suburban Youth of high extracurricular involvement.
(NESSY) Parental criticism and lack of adult
supervision after school related to
poor adolescent functioning
N = 314 8th graders  Delinquency  High achievement expectations Academic hrs related to high
problems in all self-reported
domains, civic hrs related to less
internalizing symptoms, art hrs
positively related to grades and

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classroom competence for boys
Cross-sectional  Substance use  Parental emphasis on personal Most adolescents participated in
analysis character or achievements extracurricular activities for the
 School grades  After-school adult supervision enjoyment and beliefs in benefits for
 Teacher-rated classroom  Dinner with parents the future
behavior  Hours spent in sports, art-theater,
academic, and civic activities
 Reasons for participation
Mahoney et al. Child Development  Global self-esteem Organized activity participation Controls: gender, parent education, The primary motivations for
(2006) Supplement of the family income, family structure participation are intrinsic
Panel Study for Income
Dynamics (PSID)
N = 2125 15–18 year  Emotional well-being Organized activities-Positively
olds associated with a variety of indicators
of positive development
Cross-sectional  Alcohol use As the amount of participation
analysis increases, the associated benefits
accrue up to a certain point and level
off at relatively high amounts of
participation
 Cigarette use Limited empirical support for the
 Eat meals with parents over-scheduling hypothesis
 Parent-adolescent
discussions
McHale et al. (2005) N = 423 7th graders in Self-reported: Team sports involvement Control: teacher reported athleticism Sport involved youth not rated as
low income more aggressive, reported greater self
neighborhoods esteem, and rated by teachers as less
Cross-sectional  Self esteem shy/withdrawn and more socially
analysis  Delinquency competent. Sport involved youth had
 Drug use slightly larger range of delinquent
Teacher reported: activities, although athletic boys were
 Social competence less likely to have smoked pot than
 Shyness/withdrawal non-athletic boys
 Disinhibition/aggression
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Melman et al. N = 90 10–12th  Anxiety Hours per week in and # of each Controls: age, grade, gender, GPA, Greater amount of time participating
(2007) graders enrolled in a structured activity outside of regular college plans, parental education, in activities, higher self-reported
health class school hours parental occupation anxiety
Cross-sectional  Depression
analysis  Somatization
Metzger et al. N = 2495 6–8th grade  GPA 6 Activity clusters: uninvolved, Controls: gender, age, ethnicity Some form of activity participation
(2009) urban, high-risk multiply involved, sports, church, was associated with positive
middle school students school and community clubs, and outcomes

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


community clubs and sports
Cross-sectional  School attendance Based on # of hours per week of School and community and
analysis participating in organized school and community and sports clusters-
non-school activities highest level of delinquency, drug
use, and school suspensions
 Suspension history Uninvolved group-lowest GPA, more
negative affect, lower levels of adult
support
 Delinquent behavior Community and sports and school
 Illicit substance use and community-more problem
 Negative affect behaviors (school suspensions,
 Parental support delinquency, drug use), less negative
 Teacher support affect, more adult support
 Community adult support
Miller et al. (2005) Family and Adolescent  Student reported grades  Wave 1 GPA Controls: gender, race, age, family SES Female athletes had higher grades
Study than non-athletes and higher school
misconduct (marginal)
N = 600 8–11th  Student reported misconduct  Wave 1 school misconduct Black and female ‘‘jocks’’ reported
graders lower grades
Longitudinal analysis  Wave 1 jock identity Male jocks and non-jocks had no GPA
 School athlete status difference. Male athletes had lower
grades, less misconduct at school
Miller et al. (2007) Family and Adolescent  Minor delinquency-cheating  Jock identity Controls: gender, race, age, SES, Jock identity was significantly related
Study at school, binge drinking, school grades, family functioning, to more incidents of delinquency
violating curfew, sexual prior delinquency (robust across gender and race)
N = 612 13–16 year activity, truancy  School athlete status Athlete status and frequent sports did
olds not significantly predict delinquency
Longitudinal analysis  Major delinquency-assault,  Frequent sports
drugs, vandalism, theft,
breaking and entering,
unauthorized financial
transactions

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21
Table 1 (continued)

22
Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Nelson and Gastic Education Longitudinal  School climate 5 Out-of-school time activity Covariates: sex, race/ethnicity, SES, All-around students – more likely to
(2009) Study (ELS) clusters: social, all-around, type of school, location of school report school honors
(not a nationally  Victimization at school unstructured recreation, employed, Unstructured recreation students-
representative study most negative associations of school
subsample) climate and the highest levels of
truancy
N = 6338 10th graders  Truancy and delinquency Study group – most positive school
Cross-sectional  Academic achievement climate, lower levels of victimization
analysis  Honors and truancy, and highest academic

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


achievement
Osborne and Philadelphia Homophobia  Ethnicity (white or not) Controls: pre high school Males in core sports 3 more likely to
Wagner (2007) Educational standardized math test score, Contact express homophobic ideas than those
Longitudinal Study individuals have with diverse not in core sports
(PELS) backgrounds (size of school and
N = 1470 students  Gender ethnic diversity of school) Females in nonathletic EAs half as
transitioning from likely to express homophobia when
junior high to high compared to those not in non-athletic
school EAs
Cross-sectional  School athletic extracurricular
analysis involvement
 ‘‘Core’ sports participation during
school year
 Non-athletic school-based
extracurriculars
Palen and N = 107 high school  Delinquency  General activity involvement Controls: age, household income Goal-directed behavior predicted
Coatsworth students delinquency, adolescent well-being.
(2007) Cross-sectional  Substance use  Identity-related experiences in No relation to externalizing behaviors
 Parent-reported problem activities (Personal expressiveness, and internalizing behaviors
behavior Flow, Goal-directed behavior)
 Positive affect
 Negative affect
 Satisfaction with life
 Internalizing
Peck et al. (2008) Maryland Adolescent Educational attainment 9 Activity clusters based on wide Vulnerable youth: based on academic Vulnerable youth in 4 of the clusters-
Development in range of activities: ability, valuing of education, mental high engagement, sports-school
Context Study health, positive family climate, clubs, sports-volunteering, school
(MADICS) discipline harshness, mastery- clubs-went onto college at rates
oriented school culture, relative higher than national average and
ability or status oriented school higher rates than students who were
culture, positive and negative peer classified as in more positive
characteristics situations at the beginning of high
school
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

N = 912 students in  Sport Controls: attrition probability, sex, Limited evidence that pattern of EA
8th/9th grade, 11th race, family income, parental involvement more important than
grade, and 1 year after education, 8th grade achievement time invested in EAs for achievement
expected graduation in vulnerable youth
Longitudinal analysis  Sport-school
 Sport-volunteer
 Sport-work
 High engaged

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


 School
 Volunteer
 Work
 Low engaged
Peguero (2008) Education Longitudinal Likelihood of being bullied at School-based activities: band/ Controls: student SES, race/ethnicity, Students involved in three or more
Study (ELS); base year school orchestra/church, school play or gender, achievement activities or intramural sports were
data musical, student government, likely to be a victim of bullying
N = 7990 10th graders academic or achievement-related Interscholastic athletes were less
Cross-sectional honor society, school yearbook, likely to be bullied
analysis newspaper, literary magazine;
intramural sports; interscholastic
sports; misbehavior
Randall and N = 152 9th and 10th  Depressive symptoms  Intensity of up to four organized Moderators: ethnicity Duration – lower levels of loneliness.
Bohnert (2009) graders activities during past school Ethnicity moderated-negatively
semester related to peer victimization for
African Americans, positively for
Asian Americans
Cross-sectional  Loneliness  Duration of participation Controls: family income, parent Intensity-Diminishing returns when
analysis education, parent employment status, adolescents were highly involved
age, gender (20+ hours a week). Highly involved –
more depressive symptoms than non-
participants. Modest amount of
participation (10 h a week) reported
lowest depressive symptoms.
Ethnicity moderated-negatively
related to loneliness for African
Americans
 Peer victimization  Breadth of participation Breadth – adolescents who
participated in a narrow or wide
range of activity contexts reported
the lowest depressive symptoms

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23
24
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Rose-Krasnor et al. Youth Lifestyle Choices  Risk behavior composite- 8 Domains of school-based and non- Controls: age, sex, parental education Breadth and intensity positively
(2006) Community-University substance use, sexual school activities related to each development index.
Research Alliance activity, delinquency, major When examined simultaneously, only
Project (YLC-CURA) in delinquent acts, aggressive breadth related with each
Ontario, Canada school behaviors, indirect acts developmental index
district
N = 7430 high school  Well-being composite-  Overall involvement Greater overall involvement, breadth
students depression, social anxiety, and intensity each associated with

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


self-esteem, optimism, daily less risk behavior, positive wellbeing,
hassles stronger academic orientation,
positive interpersonal functioning
Cross-sectional  Academic orientation-grades,  Breadth Clubs in school, practicing a musical
planning, aspirations, bored instrument, volunteering related to
at school, importance of less risk behavior. Leadership
education, skipping class activities, theater arts related to
greater risk behavior
 Social/interpersonal  Intensity Sports in school, sports outside of
functioning-attachment to school, school clubs related positively
each parent, friendship to wellbeing
quality, best friendships, School clubs, musical instruments,
victimization, support volunteering positively related to
network size academic orientation
School clubs, volunteering related to
stronger social relations
Diminishing returns for risk behavior
and academic orientation with
increasing breadth for up to five or six
activities
Shernoff and 3 Midwestern states  Student engagement  Activities: sports, arts enrichment, Gender, race/ethnicity, SES, mother’s More engagement in activities when
Vandell (2007) (concentration, enjoyment, socializing, homework, academic educational attainment activities were done with adults and
interest) enrichment, sit down games peers rather than just peers
N = 165 middle  Concentrated effort  Social partners Homework – more apathy, less
schoolers in after- intrinsic motivation, lower
school programs engagement, lower positive affect
Cross-sectional  Intrinsic motivation Sports and Arts – Higher mean
analysis intrinsic motivation and engagement
 Positive affect Socializing – Lower concentrated
 Negative affect effort, importance, negative affect and
 Apathy engagement
 Importance
Table 1 (continued)

Study Sample Dependent variables Independent variables Other variables Findings

Simpkins et al. Childhood and Beyond  Self-worth  Breadth of participation Controls: parent education, family Friends positive characteristics
(2008) Study (CAB) and income, gender, cohort mediated activity breadth and
Maryland Adolescent depressive affect, self-worth, alcohol
Development in use, and problem behavior. Friends’
Context Study negative characteristics mediated
(MADICS) these relations in CAB, not MADICS
N = 925 8th, 9th, and  Depressive affect  Intensity of participation
10th graders (CAB)
N = 1338 8th graders  Alcohol use

A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48


(MADICS)
Longitudinal analysis  Problem behavior
 Peer positive characteristics
 Peer negative characteristics
Troutman and National Education Completion of bachelor’s High school athletic participation in Controls: educational expectations, High school sports-higher odds of
Dufur (2007) Longitudinal Study degree 10th or 12th grade standardized test scores, SES, family finishing college
(NELS:88) size and composition, race, type of
N = 5103 females school, School neighborhood,
surveyed in 8th grade intercollegiate sport participation,
and remaining in 12th postsecondary grades
Longitudinal analysis
Zarrett et al. (2009) Longitudinal 4-H Study  7th grade positive youth 6 Activity clusters: Controls: propensity scores, youth Highly engaged and sports/youth
of Positive Youth development index goal orientation, duration of sports development youth – highest positive
Development (4-H participation, breadth of activities youth development and contribution
PYD) scores
N = 1357 5–7th  7th grade contribution index  Sports-only Highly engaged youths-higher
graders positive youth development scores
than all others
Longitudinal analysis  7th grade depression  Highly-engaged Highly engaged and non-sport youths
– highest depression scores
 7th grade risk behaviors  Sport-youth development Sports only and sports-religion –
lowest depression scores
 Sport-performing art Profiles did not significantly predict
 Sport-religion risk behaviors
 Non-sport

25
26 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

than participation itself may explain this relationship. Five studies utilized nationally-representative
longitudinal datasets (NELS:88 and High School and Beyond; National Center for Educational Statis-
tics, 1986), and three studies used community-based samples.
The four studies that used NELS:88 data used widely varying measures of activity involvement, and
they used different waves of data. In cross-sectional analyses, Lipscomb (2007) examined whether
participation in school-sponsored clubs and sports was related to math and science test scores and
educational expectations among 8th graders. Participating in school-sponsored clubs and sports
was positively related to achievement. The author estimated a fixed effects model and included vari-
ables such as ability, demographic characteristics, and measures of general motivation in order to re-
duce the potential for selection bias.
Using NELS:88 for a longitudinal analysis, Troutman and Dufur (2007) examined whether female
high school athletes were more likely to graduate from college than female non-athletes. They found
female high school athletes were 73% more likely to complete college compared to their counterparts.
These females reported higher educational expectations and scored higher on standardized math and
reading tests than female non-athletes. College grades were not significantly different between the
two groups. Chambers and Schreiber (2004) also used NELS:88 to focus on girls and explored cross-
sectionally whether there were differences in the relationship between activity participation and aca-
demic achievement that depended on race. They divided a list of activities into five groups: (1) in-
school academic organized (school clubs, drama, yearbook), (2) in-school non-academic organized
(sports, cheerleading), (3) out-of-school non-academic organized (religious groups, neighborhood
clubs), (4) out-of-school non-academic non-organized (television), and (5) out-of-school academic
non-organized (homework). Using both the 8th grade and 10th grade samples, they found that partic-
ipation in in-school academic activities was positively related to academic achievement for all girls
and that participation in out-of-school non-academic non-organized activities was positively related
to reading achievement for Caucasian 10th grade girls. In another study examining race differences,
Lleras (2008) performed a longitudinal analysis using the NELS data to examine 10th grade activity
participation (sports, academic, and fine arts) and educational attainment and earnings 10 years later.
Participating in academics and sports in 10th grade (but not fine arts) was related to greater educa-
tional attainment and earnings 10 years later. Fine arts involvement was related to lower earnings
in general but higher earnings for African Americans (compared to Whites). The author interpreted
findings to suggest that fine arts participation may foster better cognitive and behavioral skills that
lead to better employment outcomes for racial minorities.
Performing a longitudinal analysis, Hunt (2005) used another large, nationally representative data-
set—High School and Beyond—to examine the relationship between participation in 8 kinds of
activities: athletics, cheerleading/pep club, church, community, hobby/vocational, performance, sub-
ject matter, and total number of activities with GPA and educational expectations. Hunt found that
contrary to the other findings, participation in extracurricular activities was not related to improved
grades or educational expectations between 10th and 12th grades.
Fredricks and Eccles (2006) used a community-based sample of adolescents to perform both cross-
sectional and longitudinal analyses of 11th grade extracurricular activity participation in school clubs,
organized sports, and prosocial activities in relation to self-reported grades, educational expectations
in 11th grade and educational status 1 year after high school. The authors found that both club and
sports participation were positively related to both grades and educational expectations in 11th grade,
and prosocial activity participation was related to higher educational expectations. One year after high
school, school club participation was related to more years of schooling (strongly for girls), as were
sports and prosocial activity participation. In a different study using the same sample, Fredricks and
Eccles (2008) performed both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses to examine the relationship
between school activities (including clubs or student government, sports, and organized summer
and after-school programs) and academic outcomes including self-reported grades and valuing school
(whether the adolescent perceived school as a pathway to later life). The authors found that 8th grade
participation in school clubs was related to higher grades and valuing school, while sports participa-
tion was associated with less school value. In the longitudinal models, sports participation in 8th grade
was related to a decrease in valuing school over time. School club participation in 8th grade was pos-
itively related to 11th grade GPA (for Caucasians) and 11th grade school value (for males).
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 27

In another study using a community-based sample of high-income adolescents, Luthar et al. (2006)
used more recently collected data (early 2000s compared with the 1991 Fredricks and Eccles dataset)
to examine the relationship between extracurricular activity involvement and school grades and tea-
cher-rated classroom behaviors. Although the original study was longitudinal, the analysis for this
article included only 8th grade data. They found that involvement in arts activities was positively re-
lated to grades and classroom competence for boys, but this positive relationship diminished when
family variables such as parental criticism and expectations were added into the model. They con-
cluded that factors other than participation (i.e., family variables) explain the relationship between
activity participation and academic achievement for high-income, suburban youth.
These studies suggest that when looking at specific types of activities, there are nuanced relation-
ships between activity participation and academic achievement. Some activities (school clubs, proso-
cial activities, sports), but not all, are positively related to academic outcomes. And, in studies using
longitudinal analyses, the relationship between activity participation and academic achievement
was not significant, and in some cases, there was a negative relationship between participation and
achievement. As Luthar et al. (2006) demonstrated, other factors may explain the relationship be-
tween activity participation and achievement. Further research can help to disentangle the roles of
multiple contexts and whether they moderate or mediate the relationship between activity participa-
tion and academic achievement.

Measures of intensity, breadth, and duration


Recently, researchers argued that past studies have confounded separable dimensions of activity
involvement. In response, several studies have characterized participation by identifying the dimen-
sions of intensity, breadth, and duration. These dimensions describe how often the youth participates
in an activity, how many activities in which they participate, or how many years they have been par-
ticipating. Depending on the particular participation variable used, the relationship between adoles-
cent activity participation and academic achievement varied. Below, we discuss the six studies that
assessed the relationship between these dimensions of participation and academic achievement.
We discuss the six studies that have investigated intensity, followed by the three that have studied
breadth, and conclude with the two that have explored the relationship between participation dura-
tion and academic achievement.

Intensity. Among the studies that have investigated the dimensions of extracurricular activity partic-
ipation and academic achievement, all of them have included a measure of participation intensity in
their analyses (Busseri, Rose-Krasnor, Willoughby, & Chalmers, 2006; Darling, 2005; Denault & Poulin,
2009; Dumais, 2008; Gardner, Roth, & Brooks-Gunn, 2008; Rose-Krasnor et al., 2006). Three of these
studies measured intensity as the number of hours per week (Darling, 2005; Denault & Poulin, 2009;
Gardner et al., 2008), while the other three characterized intensity as the frequency of participation (or
the number of days per week; Busseri et al., 2006; Dumais, 2008; Rose-Krasnor et al., 2006). Those
studies that used the number of hours per week measure of intensity found a positive cross-sectional
relationship between intensity and grades and academic aspirations (Darling, 2005), as well as a po-
sitive longitudinal relationship between intensity academic aspirations (Denault & Poulin, 2009) and
educational attainment (i.e., the odds of attending a postsecondary institution 2 years after high
school; Gardner et al., 2008). Among the studies using frequency of participation, only one found a sig-
nificant relationship between intensity and academic achievement (Dumais, 2008). This study used
longitudinal nationally-representative data (ELS:2002) and found that 10th-grade participation fre-
quency was positively related to 12th grade math achievement scores but not to GPA (Dumais,
2008). The other two studies utilized Canadian samples, exploring both participation intensity and
breadth (Busseri et al., 2006; Rose-Krasnor et al., 2006) and found participation breadth was signifi-
cantly related to academic achievement, while intensity was not.

Breadth. Three studies investigated the relationship between participation breadth and academic
achievement (Busseri et al., 2006; Denault & Poulin, 2009; Rose-Krasnor et al., 2006). In all of these
studies, breadth was characterized as the sum of the different types of activities. This research on
activity breadth has shown that it is positively related to academic orientation, defined as grades,
28 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

educational planning, educational aspirations, boredom at school (reverse coded), valuing education,
and skipping class (reverse coded). As mentioned above, two of the studies were based on Canadian
samples and also included measures of intensity (Busseri et al., 2006; Rose-Krasnor et al., 2006). When
both measures were included in the analyses (one cross-sectional and one longitudinal), breadth was
significantly related to academic orientation while intensity was not. In addition, these two studies
demonstrated that breadth was beneficial up to a point, for up to five different types of activities
and no additional benefit for participating in 6–8 different activity types, suggesting a threshold effect
(Rose-Krasnor et al., 2006). Furthermore, the relationship between breadth and academic orientation
was negative and the strongest for those reporting lower levels of breadth at Time 1 compared to
those reporting high levels (Busseri et al., 2006).

Duration. Two studies assessed the longitudinal relationship between participation duration and aca-
demic achievement (Darling, 2005; Gardner et al., 2008). In both, duration was measured as the num-
ber of years that adolescents reported participating in extracurricular activities. Both studies utilized
data collected in the late 1980s and found a positive relationship between participation duration and
academic achievement. In a longitudinal study, Darling (2005) found that more years of participation
was related to higher grades, a more positive attitude toward school, and higher academic aspirations.
Using NELS:88, Gardner et al. (2008) found that participation duration was positively associated with
educational attainment (or the odds of attending a postsecondary institution 2 years after high
school). The authors concluded that participation in organized activities during high school was pos-
itively associated with educational outcomes, and that these benefits can last well into young
adulthood.
All of these studies demonstrate that above and beyond participation itself, how adolescents par-
ticipate in extracurricular activities is significantly related to academic achievement. In most cases,
breadth, intensity, and duration were positively related to academic achievement and educational
attainment, and in some cases, breadth was particularly important in explaining variation in academic
outcomes. This finding lends support to the idea that when adolescents are engaged in a variety of pro-
social experiences which may increase the likelihood that adolescents are in contact with adults and
different kinds of peers, they may have more opportunities to learn skills that they can apply to dif-
ferent areas of their lives.

Person-centered approaches to extracurricular activity participation and academic achievement

We identified four studies that performed a person-centered approach to extracurricular activity


participation and linked these activity profiles to academic achievement—two used large, nationally
representative samples while the other two focused on high-risk or vulnerable youth.
Linver et al. (2009) and Nelson and Gastic (2009) performed cluster analyses on a wide range
school-based and non-school-based activities using large, nationally representative samples. Both
found five profiles of adolescent extracurricular activity participation. Linver et al. (2009) found sports
only, sports and other activities, little or no involvement, primarily school-based, and primarily faith-
based activities clusters. In a cross-sectional analysis, they found that the sports only cluster had sig-
nificantly higher cognitive test scores and stronger connections to school compared to the little or no
involvement group. Furthermore, those with higher academic risk reported more school connected-
ness when they participated in sports. Nelson and Gastic (2009) found the following clusters: social,
all-around, unstructured recreation, employed, and a cluster of adolescents who spent a lot of their
time studying. In a cross-sectional analysis, the unstructured recreation group (i.e., those adolescents
who reported playing videos, non-school sports, and hanging out with friends) reported comparatively
negative perceptions of school climate, the highest levels of school truancy, and the lowest achieve-
ment scores compared to the other groups. In contrast, the all-around group reported comparatively
positive perceptions of school climate, the lowest levels of school truancy, and the highest achieve-
ment scores compared to the other groups.
Two studies focused on vulnerable or at-risk adolescents using a wide range of school and non-
school activities (Metzger, Crean, & Forbes-Jones, 2009; Peck, Roeser, Zarrett, & Eccles, 2008). In a
high-risk middle school sample, Metzger et al. (2009) identified six activity clusters that included
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 29

uninvolved, multiply involved, sports, church, school and community clubs, and community clubs and
sports groups. In a cross-sectional analysis, the uninvolved group had the lowest GPA, and in longitu-
dinal analyses, the church group experienced a significant decrease in GPA compared with the multi-
ply involved group. Peck et al. (2008) identified nine clusters of adolescents and in a longitudinal
analysis found that those who were in the sports and school clubs, sports and volunteering, school
clubs only, and highly-engaged clusters in 11th grade went onto college at higher rates compared
to their counterparts in other activity groups (sport only, volunteering only, work, sport-work, low
engagement).
These studies demonstrate that adolescents participate in activities in different ways, and that
these differences are significantly related to academic achievement. These findings demonstrate that
studies investigating activities using something other than a person-centered approach may be mask-
ing variations in academic outcomes. More research using person-centered approaches is necessary in
order to understand whether there are consistent clusters of extracurricular activity participation
across samples. In addition, it would be useful to understand what predicts cluster membership using
longitudinal data so that we can understand the precursors to different types of extracurricular activ-
ity participation. Across all studies, selection bias limits the extent to which we can draw causal con-
clusions about extracurricular activity participation and academic achievement.

Mediators and moderators


Research has explored a limited number of mediators and moderators of the relationship between
extracurricular activity participation and academic achievement. Two studies have explored gender
and three studies explored race as moderators of this relationship (Fredricks & Eccles, 2008; Lleras,
2008; Miller, Melnick, Barnes, Farrell, & Sabo, 2005). In addition, two studies have explored whether
peers mediate the relationship between participation and academic outcomes (Darling, Caldwell, &
Smith, 2005; Fredricks & Eccles, 2005). These studies are described below.

Gender as a moderator. Two studies explored whether gender moderates the relationship between
extracurricular activities and academic outcomes. In addition to the Fredricks and Eccles (2008) study
described in the previous section, Miller et al. (2005) also found that gender was a significant moder-
ator in their longitudinal analysis. They found that female athletes reported higher grades compared
to female non-athletes, while male athletes reported marginally lower grades than male non-athletes.
In addition, having a ‘‘jock identity’’ was a significant moderator. Females who identified themselves
as jocks reported lower grades than those who did not. GPAs did not significantly differ between male
jocks and non-jocks.

Race as a moderator. In addition to the Fredricks and Eccles (2008) and Lleras (2008) studies described
in the previous section (Academic Performance), Miller et al. (2005) also explored whether race mod-
erated the relationship between activity participation and academic outcomes. They found that Black
adolescents who identified themselves as jocks reported lower grades than those who did not. Given
that few studies have explored both gender and race as moderators of activity involvement and aca-
demic outcomes, more research is needed to replicate and extend these findings.

Peers as a mediator. There is mixed evidence regarding the role that prosocial peers play in mediating
the relationship between extracurricular activity participation and academic outcomes. Two studies
examined this relationship in cross-sectional analyses. Fredricks and Eccles (2005) found that proso-
cial peers partially mediated the relationship between participation in school clubs on measures of
school belonging and school affect. On the other hand, Darling et al. (2005) found no evidence that
peer group characteristics (i.e., participating friends’ grades, attitudes toward school, and academic
aspirations) mediated the association between participation and academic outcomes. Given that so
few studies have explored whether characteristics of the peer group explain the association between
activities and academic outcomes, more research is needed to understand whether and how peers
matter.
Recent research on moderators and mediators of the relationship between activity participation
and academic achievement shows that the relationship does vary by race and gender. More research
30 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

is needed to replicate and extend these findings across samples. Furthermore, a wider range of mod-
erators and mediators should be tested. For example, peers may mediate the relationship between
activity participation and achievement, but other factors (e.g., a positive adult role model, adult super-
vision, etc.) may also be important mediators and they should be tested in future research.

Substance use

Definitions and datasets


Substance use has been defined as drug, alcohol, or tobacco use (dichotomously measured) or the
frequency of such use. In the 5 years since our last review, we identified 17 studies that directly exam-
ined the relationship between activity participation and substance use. Most often, substance use was
operationalized as frequency of alcohol use, cigarette use, or illicit substance use. In one case, sub-
stance use was defined as a substance use disorder. These studies continued to primarily utilize large
but non-representative samples. However, we also found that a number of studies performed longitu-
dinal analyses and another used a nationally representative dataset. There were eight longitudinal
analyses, seven cross-sectional analyses, and two studies that performed both longitudinal and
cross-sectional analyses. Where we could identify the years of data collection, the majority of the
studies (nine) included data collected in the 1980s or 1990s (although 3 stretched into the 2000s)
while four collected their data in the early 2000s.

Current evidence
The relationship between extracurricular activity involvement and substance use generally appears
to be negative (less substance use) even during a time in development when substance use tends to
increase, except for the case of athletic participation.

Use of general participation categories


Two studies utilized general measures of activity participation to explore substance use. Darling
(2005) used a large but non-representative community sample to perform a cross-sectional analysis
of a dichotomous variable of participation/non-participation and found that high school activity par-
ticipants reported lower levels of smoking, marijuana use, and use of other drugs compared with non-
participants (there were no significant differences in alcohol use). Bohnert and Garber (2007) per-
formed a longitudinal analysis with a small sample and a general measure of activity participation
and found that lower overall levels of activity involvement in 8th grade were associated with in-
creased odds of having a substance use disorder and increased tobacco use in 12th grade.

Use of detailed activity categories


Ten studies explored the relationship between specific types of extracurricular activities and sub-
stance use. All but one study utilized small or community-based samples; two studies performed
cross-sectional analyses (Barnes, Hoffman, Welte, Farrell, & Dintcheff, 2007; Fredricks & Eccles,
2005), four performed longitudinal analyses (Bohnert & Garber, 2007; Denault, Poulin, & Pedersen,
2009; Fauth, Roth, & Brooks-Gunn, 2007; Hartmann & Massoglia, 2007; Hoffmann, 2006), and one per-
formed both (Darling et al., 2005). The relationship between activity participation and substance use
was generally negative for most activity types with the exception of sports participation. Two studies
showed a significant relationship between activity participation and substance use only for specific
types of adolescents. These two studies are discussed in the mediators/moderators section below
(Fredricks & Eccles, 2006; Simpkins, Eccles, & Becnel, 2008).
Four studies separated athletic participation from participation in other kinds of activities. The
cross-sectional analyses indicated participation was either unrelated to or related to less substance
use, while the longitudinal analyses indicated athletic participation was related to higher rates of alco-
hol use during adulthood. Using a nationally representative sample, Hoffmann (2006) compared ath-
letic participation to other participation using the NELS:88 dataset. The author found that athletic
participation was associated with increased alcohol use over a 2-year period. Hartmann and Massoglia
(2007) found that sports participation in 9th grade was unrelated to drunk driving at age 30, but that
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 31

sports’ importance (how important playing sports while in high school was to the participant) and
time in sports (years) in 9th grade was positively related to drunk driving later in life.
Darling et al. (2005) separated school-based sports participation from other kinds of school-based
activity participation and performed both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. In the cross sec-
tional analysis, controlling for demographic characteristics and prior adjustment, the authors found
that school-based extracurricular activity participation was significantly related to lower levels of
marijuana use. In the longitudinal analysis, the results were counter to the cross-sectional analysis.
Again, controlling for demographic characteristics and prior adjustment, the authors found higher
alcohol use for sports participants compared with both non-participants and other activity partici-
pants, and lower marijuana use for sports participants compared with non-participants. However,
marijuana use was higher for sports participants compared to participants of non-sports activities.
In a small sample of adolescents from Detroit, Fredricks and Eccles (2005) found athletic participants
reported significantly higher alcohol use while performance arts and academic clubs participants re-
ported significantly less alcohol use in their cross-sectional analysis of 9th- 10th- and 12th-graders.
Barnes et al. (2007) combined activities across both school and non-school settings and categorized
them: sports, hobbies, relaxing alone, paid work, housework, television, and family time. In their cross-
sectional analysis of 15–18 year olds, the authors found sports involvement was associated with less
cigarette smoking and illicit drug use compared to other groups, but sports participants did not report
significantly more alcohol use. The sports category included attending sporting events; arguably there
are important differences between attending vs. participating in sports events, possibly masking the role
that sports participation may play in curbing or enhancing substance use during adolescence.
Denault et al. (2009) examined the longitudinal relationship between youth activity participation—
defined as performance and fine arts, sports, academic clubs, community oriented, service, and faith-
based groups—and alcohol use in the month prior to the surveys. The authors found sports participa-
tion was significantly associated with concurrent alcohol use and increased alcohol use over time. Par-
ticipation in youth clubs was negatively associated with alcohol use, and hours spent in performance
and fine arts activities in 8th grade predicted less alcohol use in grades 9 and 10. In a large sample of
Chicago adolescents, Fauth et al. (2007) conducted a longitudinal analysis of 9- and 12-year olds and
similarly found that sports participation was significantly related to increases in substance use (alco-
hol and marijuana use), while arts and student government were related to decreases in substance
use. When Bohnert and Garber (2007) examined activity types individually, the authors found that
less involvement in academic activities was related to a substance use disorder in 12th grade but that
involvement in sports did not significantly predict having a substance use disorder in 12th grade. Each
study utilized different sets of control variables, analytic strategies, and samples, but the unique find-
ings for sports in the Bohnert and Garber (2007) study may be due to their measure of substance use,
namely a substance use disorder as opposed to use, as measured in the other studies. Generally, both
cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of specific kinds of activities found a negative relationship
between participation and substance use if any at all, except for sports participation which tended
to be positively associated with alcohol use.

Measures of intensity, breadth, and duration


The recent research on the relationship between extracurricular activities and substance use has
not extensively explored the dimensions of participation intensity, breadth, and duration. We identi-
fied two studies that examined both intensity and breadth, and a single study that examined duration.

Intensity and breadth. Busseri et al. (2006) and Denault and Poulin (2009) created measures of inten-
sity and breadth combining activity types within these measures and performed longitudinal analyses.
Busseri et al. (2006) found both intensity and breadth of participation to be negatively related to sub-
stance use. The authors combined all in- and out-of-school activities into measures of breadth (0–7
activities) and intensity (the average frequency of participation – how many days per week across
the 7 activities) in a longitudinal study of Canadian high school students. The authors found that youth
with greater activity breadth at the first measurement point reported less risk behavior—including
substance use—20 months later. Youth with greater activity intensity at Time 1 also reported less risk
behavior at Time 2.
32 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

Denault and Poulin (2009) found both intensity and breadth to be unrelated to substance use. The
authors also created breadth and intensity measures across seven categories of school-based and com-
munity-based extracurricular activities and found no association between intensity and breadth of
activity involvement and substance use in their longitudinal analysis. This sample, however, consisted
of more affluent, female students. While the analysis utilized an extensive set of controls, their com-
posite variable of risky behavior comprised a range of factors from antisocial behavior to unsafe sex
behaviors, making it difficult to understand the precise relationship between participation and sub-
stance use. In contrast, the Busseri et al. (2006) study utilized a very limited set of controls and, like
the Denault and Poulin (2009) study, the authors’ measure of substance use was a risk behavior com-
posite that included five kinds of substance use and a delinquency and an aggression measure, making
it difficult to draw inferences about the relationships between participation and substance use.

Duration. Darling (2005) also included a variable representing cumulative participation over time as
the number of years as well as the amount of time spent in extracurricular activities per week. More
years of participation was associated with less marijuana and other drug use and had no relation to
cigarette or alcohol use.
Based on these findings, the exploration of intensity, breadth and duration of activity participation
in relation to substance use needs further attention. Replication with US samples, specification of
activity types, and disentangling outcomes from composite variables could be a beneficial next step
in research.

Person-centered approaches to extracurricular activity participation and substance use

Three studies used person-centered approaches to explore the relationship between extracurricu-
lar activity participation and substance use. In two of the studies, activity involvement was signifi-
cantly related to substance use. The third study utilized extensive controls and did not find a
significant relationship between activity participation and substance use. These three studies are dis-
cussed below.
In Linver et al.’s (2009) examination of various school- and non-school-based activities, the cluster
analysis revealed five profiles including only sports, sports and other activities, little or no involve-
ment, primarily school-based activities, and primarily faith-based activities. The authors found that
school group participants reported more alcohol use compared to religious group participants. Metz-
ger et al.’s (2009) cluster analysis utilized six different activities including both school- and commu-
nity-based activities and found six groups: uninvolved, multiply involved, sports, church, school and
community clubs, and community clubs and sports. The authors found that while most of the profiles
were related to positive outcomes, those clusters of students who participated in community clubs re-
ported more drug use. Specifically, the school-and-community and the community-and-sports groups
reported higher levels of drug use.
Zarrett et al. ’s (2009) cluster analysis of 19 out-of-school-time activities in a large sample of 5–7th
graders found seven activity profiles: sports only, high-engaged, sports-youth development programs,
sports-performing arts, sports-religion, low-engaged, and non-sport. The authors also used propensity
score matching to reduce selection bias, as well as an extensive set of control variables to predict 7th
grade outcomes. After controlling for quantity of time spent in out-of-school-time activities and the
duration of participation in sports across three grade levels, the authors did not find a significant rela-
tionship between cluster membership and substance use in this longitudinal analysis. This study sug-
gests that the relationship between school-based extracurricular activity participation and substance
use might be explained by how the activity variable is defined or by other demographic and time-use
factors.
As with research on academic achievement, more research using the person-centered approach is
necessary in order to understand whether there are consistent clusters of extracurricular activity par-
ticipation across samples. Furthermore, it would be useful to conduct the person-centered analyses
with a wide range of measures that tap substance use—from experimentation to regular use of a vari-
ety of substances. The substance use measures should also include binge drinking. This will help to
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 33

differentiate between relatively normative experiences of ‘‘trying things out’’ during adolescence to
regular use and misuse of substances.

Mediators and moderators

Three studies investigated whether the relationship between activity participation and substance
use varied by gender, ethnicity, or peer characteristics, and a fourth study conducted a three-way
interaction with gender and school SES as moderators of extracurricular activity participation. These
studies are discussed in detail below.

Gender as moderator
Examining a group of ethnically diverse 7th graders from three low-income neighborhoods in the
Northeast, McHale et al. (2005) found that boys involved in team sports were less likely to have exper-
imented with marijuana than non-involved boys in this cross-sectional analysis. Performing both
cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, Fredricks and Eccles (2006) in their large sample of Mary-
land adolescents, found eleventh grade involvement in high school sports was related to lower alcohol
use and lower marijuana use for boys. In addition, they found a significant positive relationship be-
tween young adult (i.e., 1 year post-high school) alcohol use for girls who had participated in high
school sports. In a longitudinal, nationally representative study, Hoffmann (2006) found that athletic
participation was associated with increased alcohol use over a 2 year period. This relationship was
stronger for females from lower-SES schools and males in higher-SES schools. For participation in
all other types of activities, gender and school characteristics also moderated the relationship, in that
non-athletic participation was related to lower alcohol use for male but not for female non-athletes.

Race as moderator
One study explored whether race moderated the relationship between participation and substance
use. Fredricks and Eccles (2006) found that eleventh grade involvement in high school sports was sig-
nificantly related to lower alcohol use and lower marijuana use for European Americans compared
with increased alcohol use and no relationship to marijuana use for African Americans.

Peer characteristics as mediator


Simpkins et al. (2008) utilized the same Detroit and Maryland datasets as Fredricks and Eccles
(2005, 2006) in their longitudinal analysis but included friends’ characteristics as mediators in the
models examining alcohol use. The authors found that friends’ positive characteristics, a scale includ-
ing doing well in school, planning to go to college, discuss schoolwork or intellectual topics, mediated
the relationship between participation and alcohol use in both samples.
Again, similar to the research on activity participation and achievement, additional research is
needed to replicate and extend the findings related to substance use across samples. Furthermore, a
wider range of moderators and mediators should be tested. For example, peers may mediate the rela-
tionship between activity participation and substance use, but adult supervision may be a particularly
important mediator given that substance use may be less likely when there is more parental monitor-
ing and supervision.

Sexual activity

Definitions and datasets


Sexual activity has been measured by number of partners, frequency of intercourse, age at first
intercourse, and teen parenthood. Our current review identified five studies that examined the rela-
tionship between extracurricular activity participation and adolescents’ sexual activity (Barnes
et al., 2007; Cohen, Taylor, Zonta, Vestal, & Schuster, 2007; Denault & Poulin, 2009; Miller, Melnick,
Barnes, Sabo, & Farrell, 2007; Rose-Krasnor et al., 2006). Three of these studies examined sexual activ-
ity along with other outcomes, such as substance use or delinquent behaviors, as part of a composite
variable, making the precise relationship between activity participation and sexual activity is difficult
to ascertain. The studies used both nationally representative and smaller community-based samples,
34 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

including two longitudinal analyses and three cross-sectional analyses. Four of the five studies utilized
data collected in the early 2000s while the fifth study used data collected primarily in the early to mid-
1990s.

Current evidence
The role of mediators and moderators has not been further investigated related to sexual activity,
nor have multifaceted methods such as person-centered approaches been applied to the study of this
outcome. Thus, we only describe the relationship between detailed activity categories and measures of
intensity, breadth, and duration below.

Use of detailed activity categories


Miller et al. (2007) examined the relationship of ‘‘athlete status’’ (participation in any school
sports), ‘‘sports frequency’’ (how many times a year the respondent engaged in sports or exercise
activity), and ‘‘jock identity’’ (respondents who thought the jock label fit them somewhat or very well)
in relation to a composite outcome variable. The outcome variable included sexual activity as part of a
minor delinquency variable that also included cheating, cursing, conflict with parents, binge drinking,
lying, violating curfew and truancy. The authors found, in this longitudinal analysis of 13–16 year olds,
that while athlete status and sports frequency were unrelated to the minor delinquency composite, a
jock identity was associated with significantly more delinquency.
Two studies performed cross-sectional analyses of extracurricular activity participation and sexual
activity outcomes. Barnes et al. (2007) examined substance use, delinquency, and sexual activity as
separate variables in relation to school and non-school activity participation in a cross-sectional sam-
ple of 15- to 18-year-olds. They found that those adolescents who participated in activities that con-
sisted of playing a musical instrument or singing; doing crafts, artwork or sewing; reading books,
magazines, or newspapers for pleasure; listening to music; participating in clubs, scouts or other or-
ganized activities reported significantly less sexual activity compared to adolescents participating in
other types of extracurricular activities. In a more macro-level analysis, Cohen et al. (2007) did not find
a relationship between school-level sports participation and neighborhood teen birth rates among a
sample of Los Angeles high schools. However, they did find that neighborhoods in which public high
schools offered more sports activities also had lower teen birth rates. The relationship between this
outcome and activity participation across studies may be less clear because of the varying measure-
ment of both activity variables and sexual activity variables.

Measures of intensity, breadth, and duration


Similar to the other outcomes, the use of intensity, breadth and duration of participation has not
been extensively explored in relation to sexual activity outcomes. Two studies investigated intensity
and breadth of participation in relation to sexual activity, but one included sexual activity as part of a
composite variable, making it impossible to determine the relationship between participation and
sexual activity. Nevertheless, we describe these studies below.

Intensity and breadth. Rose-Krasnor et al. (2006) examined sexual activity as part of a risk behavior
composite that included substance use, delinquency, major delinquency, aggressive behavior, and
indirect acts (i.e., spread rumors or untrue stories) in their large Canadian-based, cross-sectional
study. The authors found that greater overall activity involvement was associated with less risk behav-
ior. When the activities were examined individually, school clubs, practicing a musical instrument,
and volunteering were each associated with less risk behavior, while involvement in leadership activ-
ities and theater were each associated with greater risk behavior. Denault and Poulin (2009) longitu-
dinally examined both intensity and breadth of participation in relation to safe sex practices. They
measured intensity as the average number of hours across all activities, and breadth as the total of
up to seven different activity categories across individual and team sports, performance and fine arts,
academic clubs and organizations, community, service, and faith-based activities. In their sample of
youth in grades 7–11, the authors found that intensity and breadth of participation were unrelated
to safe sex practices.
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 35

As with substance use outcomes, understanding the relationship between school-based extracur-
ricular activity participation and sexual activity is complicated by varying definitions of the outcome
variables and activity variables. In addition, the relationship between participation intensity, breadth,
and duration and sexual activity needs further study. Research is needed that explores whether factors
such as race, gender, or SES moderate the relationship between activity participation and sexual
activity. Also, research should also test whether peers, or even family factors, mediate the relationship
between participation and sexual behaviors as they have been found to do with other adolescent
outcomes.

Psychological adjustment outcomes

Definitions and datasets


Psychological adjustment has been defined in the literature as depressed mood, self-concept, and
self-esteem. Between 2004 and 2009, 20 studies explored the relationship between extracurricular
activity participation and adolescent psychological adjustment (plus an additional study discussed
in the overscheduling section). Our search revealed that the most common psychological health out-
come was a measure of depression or a variant (e.g., internalizing/externalizing problems, negative
emotions, negative affect, self-esteem, well-being and composites of well-being that included these
outcomes). The instruments used to measure these outcomes also varied, but most used a well-vali-
dated measure of psychological adjustment—some used the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) or Chil-
dren’s Depressive Inventory (CDI), while others used the Center for Epidemiological Studies-
Depression Scale (CES-D). Data came from a mix of quantitative and qualitative, large, representative
and small, non-representative samples, and longitudinal (six) and cross-sectional analyses (twelve,
and two performing both within their studies). Where we could identify the years of data collection,
approximately half of the studies (seven) included data collected in the 1990s and the other half (six)
used data collected in the early 2000s, an additional one used data that stretched both decades.

Current evidence
Use of general activity categories. Three cross-sectional studies used fairly general specification of
activity categories; one compared school and non-school activities and two compared sports partici-
pation with non-sports participation and non-participation. Findings depended upon the outcome
measure under study. For example, Melman et al. (2007) found that the amount of time spent in
school-related activities (as compared with non-school-related activities, domestic responsibilities
and employment) was not significantly related to depression. In a sample of 7th graders, McHale
et al. (2005) found that youth involved in sports reported higher self-esteem and were rated by teach-
ers as more socially competent and less shy and withdrawn than non-involved youth. In addition, Os-
borne and Wagner (2007) studied sports participation and homophobia among urban, African–
American youth in Philadelphia. They found that males who participated in school sports (e.g., foot-
ball, baseball, basketball and soccer) were nearly three times more likely to express homophobic atti-
tudes than adolescents who did not participate in these sports. Females who participated in non-
athletic extracurricular activities, such as debate and science club, were half as likely to express homo-
phobic attitudes as adolescents who did not participate in non-athletic activities.

Use of detailed activity categories. Other studies examined more types of activities. Examining a variety
of school and non-school-based activities (i.e., sports/cheerleading, performing arts, student govern-
ment, community-based clubs, and church groups), Fauth et al.’s (2007) longitudinal study found that
sports participation was related to lower ratings of anxiety and depression. Fredricks and Eccles
(2006) found a similar result in their cross-sectional analysis of depression and self-esteem, but the
effects were not enduring in their longitudinal analysis. However, in another cross-sectional study,
Fredricks and Eccles (2005) found that sports participation was not significantly related to depression,
but school activity participation (e.g., student government, pep-club, and/or cheerleading) was nega-
tively related to depression, and this effect was mediated by affiliation with prosocial peers.
In a cross-sectional consideration of school- and non-school-based activities of eleventh graders,
Larson, Hansen, and Moneta (2006) investigated the relationship between activity participation and
36 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

unique psychological developmental outcomes that included the constructs of identity exploration,
emotion regulation, and stress. They found that youth in faith-based activities reported higher rates
of experiences related to identity, emotional regulation, and interpersonal development in comparison
with other activities. Sports and arts programs provided significantly more experiences related to
development of initiative, although sports participation was also related to high stress. Service activ-
ities were associated with experiences related to development of teamwork, positive relationships,
and social capital.
Three studies examined the emotional experiences of youth during activity participation. In a
cross-sectional analysis of a mostly Caucasian, female high school student sample (Palen & Coats-
worth, 2007), identity-related experiences (personal expressiveness, flow and goal-directed behav-
iors) were significantly related to psychological well-being, above and beyond participation alone.
Examining related constructs, Shernoff and Vandell (2007), in a cross-sectional sample of middle
school students, found that sports and arts participants reported high levels of engagement while par-
ticipating. Sports participants also reported higher concentrated effort, importance, and overall
engagement, and did not report high negative affect. Arts participation was related to higher intrinsic
motivation, concentrated effort, engagement, and lower apathy. Finally, Barnett (2007) examined
competitive cheerleading and dance. In a small, longitudinal sample of 15- to 17-year-old girls, those
who were not selected for the team after auditioning reported negative feelings about themselves and
about school, and these negative emotions remained 2 months later.

Measures of intensity, breadth, and duration. Three studies utilized measures of intensity and breadth in
their exploration of adolescent activity participation and psychological adjustment. No studies exam-
ined the role of duration of participation in adolescent psychological adjustment. One study found that
intensity and breadth were unrelated to psychological adjustment while the second study showed
breadth (as opposed to intensity) to be more strongly related to psychological adjustment.

Intensity and breadth. Denault and Poulin (2009) found intensity (measured as the average number of
hours across all activities) and breadth (measured as the total of up to seven different activity categories)
to be unrelated to an internalizing problems composite – that included ratings of depression, self-worth,
and loneliness. Alternatively, in their large sample of Canadian high school students, Rose-Krasnor et al.
(2006) examined the breadth (the number of activities) and intensity (average frequency) of activity par-
ticipation for in- and out-of-school sports, in- and out-of-school clubs, theater arts, musical instruments,
volunteer work, leader in a school or community activity. They found that when all activities were in the
same model, both in- and out-of-school sports and school clubs were positively related to a well-being
composite measure that included depression, social anxiety, self-esteem, optimism, and daily hassles
(coded positively). Breadth of involvement was found to have more robust unique associations with each
outcome than intensity, leading the researchers to conclude that youth may benefit through the expe-
rience of different activity contexts rather than the average intensity of their participation.
Randall and Bohnert (2009) found the relationship between activity participation and ratings of
depression to be non-linear, varying by the intensity of participation. Adolescents who reported
spending 20 hours per week or more and those who reported spending less than 10 h per week in
extracurricular activities also had the highest ratings of depression. Furthermore, both reported higher
ratings of depression than non-participants. Adolescents who said they spend about 10 h per week in
activities reported the lowest ratings of depression.
Some of the discrepancy in findings may be due to differences in sample and measurement of activ-
ities. The Randall and Bohnert (2009) cross-sectional analysis consisted of American 9th and 10th
graders and school-based activities while the Denault and Poulin (2009) longitudinal analysis included
Canadian 6th and 7th graders. They also included a mix of school-based and non-school-based activ-
ities. Further, the composite outcome variable used by Denault and Poulin could be masking the rela-
tionship between participation and each outcome. These studies also used broad measures of
extracurricular activities in their analyses. Nevertheless, Randall and Bohnert’s (2009) results suggest
that it is important to explore non-linear relationships between activity participation and psycholog-
ical adjustment; their results should be replicated with different samples. In addition, the relationship
between participation duration and psychological adjustment needs to be tested in future research.
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 37

Person-centered approaches to activity participation and psychological adjustment

In the single study to utilize a large, nationally-representative sample, Linver et al. (2009) identified
five activity clusters: sports only, sports and other activities, little or no involvement, primarily school-
based, and primarily faith-based activities clusters. In their cross-sectional analysis, the authors found
that students with little or no involvement in organized activities had less positive development over-
all (social competence, confidence and positive identity, connections with peers and parents, charac-
ter, and caring) while sports only participation was associated with better developmental outcomes,
similar to school-based and faith-based activity clusters. Sports plus participation was related to more
favorable social and identity outcomes.
Metzger et al. (2009) also used a cross-sectional person-centered approach to examine organized
activities as hours per week in six activities for an urban, high-risk middle school sample. They found
six profiles; the ‘school-and-community’ and ‘community-and-sports’ profiles were associated with
less reported negative affect and more adult support than the uninvolved group. Zarrett et al.
(2009) found seven activity profiles and found that adolescents in the ‘‘highly-engaged’’ and ‘‘non-
sport’’ clusters reported higher ratings of depression, while those adolescents in the ‘‘sports-religion’’
or ‘‘sports only’’ clusters reported less lower ratings of depression. The highly-engaged cluster in-
cluded youth who participated primarily in sports and school clubs but also reported high rates of par-
ticipation in many of the other activities included in the study (including paid-work). The authors
hypothesized that other factors associated with spending a good deal of out-of-school time in activi-
ties (e.g., parental pressure, a lack of time management skills, etc.) might explain the higher rates of
depression during the middle school years for a subset of highly engaged youths.

Mediators and moderators


Some of the mixed results discussed above may be due to variability in the relationship between
participation and psychological adjustment based on socioeconomic status (SES), ethnicity, and gen-
der. One study examined the moderating role of SES (Fredricks & Eccles, 2008), two studies examined
race (Fredricks & Eccles, 2006, 2008), two studies examined gender (Fredricks & Eccles, 2006; Gadbois
& Bowker, 2007), and one study explored whether prior ratings of depression moderated the relation-
ship (Denault & Poulin, 2008). In addition, two studies explored whether peers mediated the link be-
tween participation and psychological adjustment (Fredricks & Eccles, 2005; Simpkins et al., 2008).

SES as moderator. In a longitudinal study, Fredricks and Eccles (2008) found that the relationship be-
tween school sports and ratings of depression varied by SES. Athletes from higher SES families had a
larger decrease in depression compared to non-participants, but the reverse was the case for athletes
from lower SES families.

Race as moderator. Fredricks and Eccles (2008) also found race to moderate the relationship between
participation in school-based extracurricular activities and depression. In 8th grade, participation in
school clubs was negatively related to ratings of depression. Additionally, 8th grade club participation
and sports participation were related to lower ratings of depression in 11th grade. However, Caucasian
sports participants reported higher ratings of depression compared to non-athletes, while this rela-
tionship was not significant for African Americans. In a previous study, Fredricks and Eccles (2006)
also found that race moderated activity participation and psychological adjustment. Participation in
school clubs was related to lower ratings of internalizing for African American 11th graders.

Gender as moderator. Gender also moderated the relationship between activity participation and psy-
chological adjustment (Fredricks & Eccles, 2006). Sports participation was related to lower depression
and internalizing problems only for boys. Gadbois and Bowker (2007) similarly found that gender and
activity type moderated the relationship between self-esteem and extracurricular activity participa-
tion. The authors examined athletic activities, competitive athletic activities, recreational athletic
activities, and all non-athletic activities. In the small, cross-sectional sample of Canadian 11th graders,
they found that more years of competitive athletic participation for boys and more years of non-ath-
letic participation for girls were related to higher general self-esteem.
38 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

Prior depressive symptoms as moderator. In a small sample of Canadian middle-school students, Dena-
ult and Poulin’s (2008) longitudinal analysis found that social integration into the activity peer group
(the target activity was the one the adolescent reported participating in the most intensely from a list)
was positively associated with ratings of depression for only the less adjusted youth (defined as higher
depressive symptoms on the CDI). In the same sample, Denault and Poulin (2008) also found that more
support from the activity leader was related to lower ratings of depression in 7th grade for the youth
who had higher initial levels of depressive symptoms.

Peer characteristics as mediator. Two studies examined peers as mediators of activity participation and
psychological adjustment outcomes. Fredricks and Eccles (2005) found that school involvement activ-
ities (e.g., student government, pep-club, and/or cheerleading) were related to lower ratings of depres-
sion, and that this effect was mediated by affiliation with prosocial peers. Simpkins et al. (2008) found
that friends’ characteristics mediated the relationship between activity participation and adolescents’
depression and self-worth. In their sample of White, middle-class 8–10th graders in Michigan and
African American 8th graders in Maryland (drawn from the same sample as the Fredricks & Eccles,
2005 study), friends’ positive (in both samples) and negative peer characteristics (in the Michigan
sample only) mediated the relationship between activity participation and psychological adjustment.
Comparisons between students with missing data suggest that there was differential attrition based
on student adjustment, which may have overstated the positive relationship between peer character-
istics and positive psychological adjustment. Nevertheless, analyses controlled for prior psychological
outcomes, which may have reduced selection bias in the estimate between activity participation,
peers, and psychological adjustment.
These studies suggest that the relationship between adolescent extracurricular activity participa-
tion and psychological adjustment depends on who is participating and under what conditions the
participation takes place. Further investigation of these moderating and mediating variables could
shed additional light on how and why adolescents are affected by activity participation.

Delinquency

Definitions and datasets


Definitions of delinquency include antisocial behaviors, misconduct, arrest and risky behavior, and
delinquent behavior. We identified 22 recent studies that explored the relationship between extracur-
ricular activity participation and delinquency. These 22 studies explored a range of delinquency out-
comes including bullying victimization, fighting, and delinquency. The delinquency literature has
included both large, nationally representative samples and smaller, community-based samples,
including ten longitudinal and ten cross-sectional analyses and two studies that performed both.
Where we could identify the years of data collection, almost two-thirds of the studies (11) included
data collected in the late 1980s or 1990s (although 2 stretched into the 2000s) while six used data col-
lected in the early 2000s.

Current evidence
Use of general activity categories. A single study utilized a general participation measure, namely sum-
ming how many afternoons per week in which any activity was participated. Fleming et al. (2008)
used longitudinal data to examine the relationships between after-school activity participation and
teacher-reported misbehavior in the school setting and self-reported delinquency. The data were mea-
sured annually from the end of elementary school (6th grade) to the beginning of high school (9th
grade). Participation in structured activities was the sum of how many afternoons per week the stu-
dent participated in (a) youth groups, clubs, or scouts; (b) hobbies like crafts, model building, or col-
lecting things; (c) homework-studying or reading; and (d) lessons or practicing things like music,
dance, or martial arts. Participation in unstructured activities was measured as the sum of responses
to how often the student: (a) ‘‘hung out at mall, shopping center, or video arcade,’’ and (b) ‘‘hung out in
his or her neighborhood.’’ The authors found that structured activity participation in 6th grade was
related to less self-reported delinquency in 8th and 9th grades, and such participation in 7th and
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 39

8th grades was related to less school misbehavior and delinquency across all time points. More school
misbehavior was related to less involvement in structured activities between 6th and 8th grades.
In a longitudinal study that examined the effects of not being chosen for a cheerleading or dance
team on 15- to 17-year-old girls, Barnett (2007) found that those who did not make the teams were
more likely to skip school, and this effect lasted for 2 months after the selections were made. There
were no differences between the girls who did and those who did not make the teams prior to the
selections. This suggests that certain groups of adolescents may be prone to risky behavior as a direct
response to not being selected to participate in extracurricular activities.

Use of detailed activity categories. Nine studies explored the relationship between specific types of
extracurricular activities and delinquency. Four used nationally representative datasets, two others
used the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN; Earls & Buka, 1997);
a sample with a high proportion of low-income adolescents), while the rest have used smaller non-
representative samples. The results of these studies are mixed. Peguero (2008) used the ELS:2002 data
to investigate the cross-sectional relationship between extracurricular activity participation and bul-
lying victimization, and found that students involved in three or more classroom-related extracurric-
ular activities (such as band, student government, yearbook) or intramural sports (i.e., baseball,
softball, basketball, football, soccer, other intramural team sport) were more likely to be a victim of
bullying. Students involved in interscholastic athletics (i.e., baseball, softball, basketball, football, soc-
cer, etc.) were less likely to be bullied. The author hypothesized that interscholastic sports athletes
may be perceived to have relatively higher social status and physically stronger, and may not be
viewed as vulnerable targets for bullying.
Guest and McRee (2009) also used a nationally representative sample, The National Longitudinal
Study of Adolescent Health (Bearman, Jones, & Udry, 1997), and conducted a cross-sectional school-
level analysis of the association between school-based extracurricular activities (sports, arts, and aca-
demics) and delinquency. Generally, participation in extracurricular activities was related to lower
levels of delinquency. Kreager (2007) used Add Health to explore the longitudinal relationship be-
tween school sports participation and serious fighting, and found a significant relationship between
participation in contact sports and self-reports of fighting. This study could not distinguish between
fighting that occurred within and outside of the context of the contact sport where fighting is likely.
This is an important distinction to make in future research. Finally, Hartmann and Massoglia (2007)
utilized the nationally representative Youth Development Study (Mortimer, 2003) in a longitudinal
analysis and found that high school sports participation was related to less shoplifting during adoles-
cence and the importance that adolescents placed on sports participation and the time spent in sports
participation during adolescence were significantly and negatively related to shoplifting at age 30.
Two studies used the PHDCN and found a negative relationship between activity participation and
delinquency. Using longitudinal data, Fauth et al. (2007) examined the relationship between five types
of activity participation and delinquency (i.e., 15 self-reported behaviors over the last year behaviors—
such as attacking someone with a weapon, snatching a purse or picking a pocket, or engaging in gang
fighting). They found that sports participation was associated with increases in self-reported delin-
quency over 6 years. However, community-based clubs, church groups, arts and student government
participation were not significantly associated with delinquency. Similarly, in their longitudinal anal-
ysis, Gardner, Roth, and Brooks-Gunn (2009) examined school- and community-based sports partici-
pation and non-violent and violent delinquency using the PHDCN. They found that the odds of
non-violent delinquency (damaging property, shoplifting, burglary) were significantly higher among
boys who participated in sports compared with boys who participated only in non-athletic activities.
There was no relationship between sports participation and boys’ violent delinquency (attacking
someone with a weapon, robbery). For girls, there was no relationship between sports participation
and non-violent or violent delinquency.
Using the Maryland Adolescent Development in Context Study (MADICS), Fredricks and Eccles
(2008) found that 8th grade school sports participation was related to higher problem behavior (20
questions that assessed property damage, shoplifting, etc.) compared to those who did not participate
in sports. In order to understand the mechanisms underlying the relationship between sports
participation and delinquency, Miller et al. (2007) used a sample of 13- to 16-year-olds to examine
40 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

whether having a ‘‘jock identity’’ (i.e., those for whom the ‘‘jock’’ label fit ‘‘somewhat’’ or ‘‘very well’’)
and sports participation were related to major (e.g., physical assault, drug use, vandalism, theft) and
minor delinquent behaviors (e.g., cheating, cursing, violating curfew). They found neither sports par-
ticipation nor frequency of sports participation were related to major and minor delinquent behaviors.
However, those who reported having a jock identity were more likely to report incidents of major and
minor delinquency across gender and race.
Other studies have found either no relationship or a negative relationship between activity partic-
ipation and delinquency. Cohen et al. (2007) found that neighborhoods in which public high schools
offered more sports activities also had lower arrest rates. Barnes et al. (2007) examined several kinds
of leisure activities including extracurricular activities, hobbies, and sports and their relationship to
delinquency. They found that extracurricular activities and hobbies were unrelated to delinquency.
Rather, time spent doing homework and family time were related to less delinquency among
adolescents.
Two studies showed that the relationship between participation and delinquency depended on
activity type and the measure of delinquency. McHale et al. (2005) found no differences in teacher-
rated aggressiveness between 7th grade sport involvement – including participation in contact sports
(football and hockey)—compared to non-involved children. Linville and Huebner (2005) examined
weapon carrying and physical fighting in a small, cross-sectional sample of 8–12th graders in rural
Virginia. The authors found that school-based extracurricular activities were not significantly related
to weapon carrying and physical fighting. However, participating in religious group activities and time
in non-school clubs were negatively related to weapon carrying for boys. In contrast, none of the activ-
ity participation variables were significantly related to female weapon carrying. For fighting, the find-
ings varied by gender. Non-school club participation was positively related to fighting for boys. For
girls, volunteer participation and the total number of sports team memberships were positively re-
lated to fighting, while time in after-school extracurricular activities was related to less fighting
behavior. Because these results were based on one sample of rural youth, the relationship between
extracurricular activity participation and weapon carrying/physical fighting needs to be replicated
with nationally representative samples.

Measures of intensity, breadth, and duration. Recent research on the relationship between extracurric-
ular activities and delinquency has not extensively explored the dimensions of participation intensity,
breadth, and duration. We were unable to identify any studies that investigated the relationship be-
tween participation duration and delinquency. We identified two studies that looked at both breadth
and intensity using a sample of Canadian high school students.
Rose-Krasnor et al. (2006) examined eight domains of school- and community-based activities (de-
scribed previously) utilizing a composite of risk behavior (substance use, sexual activity, delinquency,
major delinquency, aggressive behavior, and indirect acts of aggression) in a large sample of high
school students in Canada. Breadth was measured as the number of activities for which respondents
indicated at least some degree of involvement. Intensity was measured as the average frequency of
involvement based only on activities in which respondents indicated at least some degree of involve-
ment. They found that breadth and intensity each were both significantly associated with less risky
behavior. However, because the outcome variable was a composite of several outcome variables,
how the activities related to delinquency and aggression separately is unclear. Using the same sample,
Busseri et al. (2006) conducted a longitudinal analysis of the relationship between breadth and inten-
sity and youth risk behavior. The authors found that both activity breadth and intensity at Time 1 was
significantly and negatively related to risk behavior at Time 2 (activity breadth). While breadth and
intensity were significantly related to risk behaviors in both studies, these results need to be repli-
cated on US samples. Furthermore, the relationship between participation duration and delinquency
needs to be studied in future research on extracurricular activities.

Person-centered approaches to extracurricular activity participation and delinquency

Two studies used a person-centered approach in exploring the relationship between extracurricu-
lar activity participation and delinquency. Metzger et al. (2009) conducted a cluster analysis on
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 41

activity participation variables using a large sample of urban high-risk middle school students. They
found six activity clusters: uninvolved, multiply involved, sports group, church group, school and
community clubs, and community clubs and sports. The school and community clubs group and the
community clubs and sports group (two of the smaller clusters and those more likely to be comprised
of males than females) were comprised of adolescents who reported the highest levels of delinquency
and school suspensions. In the other study, Zarrett et al. (2009) performed a cluster analysis of 19
activities and found seven activity profiles: sports only, high-engaged, sports-youth development pro-
grams, sports-performing arts, sports-religion, low-engaged, and non-sport. None of the profiles were
significantly related to risk behaviors. In this study, the risk behaviors composite consisted of both
substance use items and delinquency items so it is not possible to know how activity participation
might be related to delinquency apart from substance use.

Mediators and moderators


As with other adolescent outcomes, research has explored a limited number of mediators and mod-
erators of the relationship between extracurricular activity participation and delinquency. Two studies
explored whether peers mediate the relationship between participation and delinquency-related out-
comes (Kreager, 2007; Simpkins et al., 2008). In addition, two studies explored whether gender and
one study explored whether race moderate this relationship (Denault & Poulin, 2008; Miller et al.,
2005, 2007). One additional study investigated whether neighborhood characteristics moderate the
relationship between activity participation and delinquency (Bohnert, Richards, Kohl, & Randall,
2009).

Race as moderator. In the study that explored whether identifying as a ‘‘jock’’ explains any variability
in the relationship between activity participation and adolescent outcomes, Miller et al. (2007) found
that race moderated the relationship between sports participation and delinquency. Specifically, they
found that the relationship between having a jock identity and major delinquency was significant for
White but not Black adolescents.

Gender as moderator. Miller et al. (2005) also found that gender moderated the relationship between
sports participation and misconduct (skipping school, cutting classes, sent to principal’s office) over
2 years in a sample of 8–11th graders. Specifically, female athletes engaged in more misconduct than
female non-athletes, and male athletes engaged in less misconduct than male non-athletes. In this
study, having a ‘‘jock identity’’ was unrelated to the outcomes. In a study exploring whether interper-
sonal relationships in the context of organized activities were associated with various outcomes
among participating youth, Denault and Poulin (2008) investigated whether the relationship between
social integration, support from an activity leader, and teacher-reported problem behaviors varied by
gender and prior adjustment. For boys only, their social integration in the activity peer group (extent
of friendships with group members as measured by outside contact with group members) was posi-
tively related, and support from the activity leader was negatively related, to problem behaviors. From
these findings, it is important to consider the characteristics of the activities’ participants as well as
the relationships that adolescents have with activity leaders in research exploring the links between
activity participation and delinquency.

Neighborhood as moderator. Acknowledging that urban, African–American youth spend comparatively


less of their discretionary time in organized activities, Bohnert et al. (2009) investigated how the rela-
tionship between activity participation and delinquency may differ by adolescents’ neighborhood
environment. They found that neighborhood safety moderated the relationship between activity type
and delinquency. Adolescents involved in more ‘‘active-structured’’ activities (i.e., sports, academic,
and arts enrichment activities as opposed to doing homework) in more dangerous neighborhoods re-
ported significantly higher levels of delinquency. In less dangerous neighborhoods, active-structured
activity involvement was unrelated to delinquency. The author notes that because the study was
cross-sectional, the direction of the relationships among activities, emotional experiences, and
adjustment cannot be determined. However, the study suggests the importance of considering
42 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

neighborhood environment as a context when examining the role of activity participation and adoles-
cent adjustment.

Peers and mediator. As with research on other outcomes, research has tested whether peers mediate
the relationship between activity participation and delinquency. In one study, Simpkins et al.
(2008) found that friends’ attitudinal and behavioral characteristics (e.g., values and attitudes toward
teachers and school) mediated the role of adolescent activity participation and problem behavior (e.g.,
skipping school, being sent to the principal’s office, being suspended) in two samples, one of 8–10th
graders, mostly Caucasian, and one of 8th graders, mostly African American. In a cross-sectional anal-
ysis of a nationally representative sample, Kreager (2007) found that the relationship between football
participation and male fighting was explained by the football participation of the adolescents’ peers.
Males whose friends played football were more likely to fight than males whose friends did not play
football. The author found that this was partially explained by selection, in that prior involvement in
fighting and delinquency attenuated the relationship between peer characteristics and fighting. Re-
search has yet to uncover the mechanisms explaining this effect, such as support of violent behavior
within the athletic context, and further research could help identify such causal mechanisms.

Summary and conclusions

In this review, we have presented 52 studies published between 2004 and 2009 that examined ado-
lescent school-based extracurricular activities and academic achievement, substance use, sexual activ-
ity, psychological adjustment, and delinquent behavior. This review updates our 2005 review on the
same developmental outcomes, highlighting where the field has made some progress and where con-
tinued research is needed.

Current evidence

Despite the large number of studies over the past 5 years, researchers have continued to focus lar-
gely on academic outcomes – in terms of use of varying data sources and methods, followed closely by
delinquency, psychological/emotional outcomes and substance use. Research on sexual activity con-
tinues to be sparse. The focus on academics is probably due to the fact that most extracurricular activ-
ity participation is school-based. Many of the findings from this review confirm the literature’s
findings we identified in our previous review, perhaps due to the use of similar outcome variables
and little progress in addressing selection bias and identifying new moderators and mediators.
We thought it was important to distinguish between studies recently published and studies utilizing
recently collected data. Unfortunately, we were not able to consistently identify the data collection years
for all of the articles included in this review. However, many of the data sets were collected around 2000
or later. Typically, the nationally representative datasets were the older datasets. For example, NELS was
first collected in 1988 and HSB was collected in the early 1980s. Although a few of the smaller, non-
representative studies also utilized older data, particularly the Fredricks and Eccles studies (2005,
2006, 2008) that utilized data collected in the early 1990s (Simpkins et al., 2008 and Peck et al., 2008 also
use these data). Because much of the older data comes from the large, nationally representative samples,
it makes it difficult to disentangle whether outcomes are related to age of the data or whether they are
related to sample size and representativeness of the data. An interesting area for further research would
consider trends over time in the articles that are being published and if associations between activities
and developmental outcomes are related to when the data was collected.
Across developmental areas, there has been little exploration into new outcome variables. In terms
of academic outcomes, our previous review demonstrated a research focus on outcomes such as self-
reported grades and math and science test scores. In this review, we see more variables regarding feel-
ings about school, including school bonding, engagement, and teacher-reported measures such as
classroom competence, while there is continued focus on grades and academic aspirations. The cur-
rent literature supports the previous review’s findings in demonstrating a generally positive relation-
ship between adolescent activity participation and academic outcomes such as self-reported grades,
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 43

feelings about school, and going to or graduating from college. As the field continues to investigate the
role of activity participation and academic outcomes, interesting outcomes to be included might be
scores on high stakes tests, such as the Federal NAEP, state tests, and the SAT and the ACT as these
tests may ultimately send the adolescent on a given path into young adulthood.
There has also been little exploration into additional outcome variables in the psychological adjust-
ment area. In addition to the typical measures of depression, recent studies have also included mea-
sures of the adolescents’ feelings about themselves, relationships with others, and their experiences in
activities, including identity work, effort, and importance of the activity. The current literature again
supports the previous literature revealing a mixed relationship between activity participation and
psychological adjustment, but these constructs of feelings and experiences during participation were
found to be related to psychological well-being above participation itself. Further investigation into
adolescents’ feelings and experiences while participating in extracurricular activities may shed light
on the process by which the relationship develops. In particular, the use of experiential sampling
methodology (ESM) may be a useful technique in understanding the relationship between participa-
tion and emotions.
Research on substance use, delinquency, and sexual activity has not included a wider range of out-
comes. One study explored the relationship between extracurricular participation and bullying which
added an additional outcome to the literature on delinquency. However in most of the studies re-
viewed in these content areas, the variables are primarily the same as those identified in our last re-
view and the findings are generally the same. In some cases, sports participation was associated with
higher levels of delinquency, alcohol use, and sexual activity, while other kinds of activities, such as
participation in school clubs, is related to less of these behaviors. In addition to bullying, it would
be useful to include other outcomes such as binge drinking and risky sexual practices in future re-
search. An interesting line of inquiry would also involve including these outcome variables as medi-
ators and moderators in models with other outcome variables. For example, if sports participation
is related to higher alcohol use, is sports participation and higher alcohol use related to better or worse
psychological adjustment or better or worse academic achievement? Taking this next step would help
to untangle what might be average expected behaviors from developing adolescents and which of
these relationships may affect their later adjustment.
However, the relationships between activity participation and adolescent substance use and sexual
activity may not be the critical constructs to examine in relation to overall positive youth develop-
ment. As Crosnoe (2001) demonstrated, sports activities in particular are associated with more socially
active friendships and draw females more into the social world of males. In the author’s 2002 study, he
concluded that the increased alcohol use by males may be to maintain their social standing and by
females because they are drawn closer to their peers. In line with the developmental–ecological
framework, three studies in the current review (Fredricks & Eccles, 2005, 2006; Simpkins et al.,
2008) and one from our last review (Borden, Donnermeyer, & Scheer, 2001), demonstrated that peer
characteristics mediated the relationship between participation and alcohol use. So, it may be that we
should expect some increased substance use and sexual activity, and even delinquency, among ado-
lescent activity participants. Therefore, the relationship between activity participation and other out-
comes that may have a more influential role in adolescents’ trajectories through life might include
self-concept, confidence, leadership qualities, reaction to peer pressure, and healthy living. It would
be useful to gauge such outcomes in future research.

Moderators and mediators

Gender, race and peer characteristics continue to be examined as moderators and mediators of
extracurricular activity participation across adolescent developmental outcomes. The field has pro-
vided glimpses into areas that may provide fruitful research in follow up investigations. As the Luthar
et al. (2006) study suggests, family variables may help explain some of the relationship between par-
ticipation and academic outcomes and, in fact, the developmental–ecological framework emphasizes
that it is important to account for what is occurring in other contexts. Denault and Poulin (2008) dem-
onstrated that prior ratings of depression and support from an activity leader moderated the relation-
ship between participation and current ratings of depression. And Bohnert et al. (2005) demonstrated
44 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

that neighborhood characteristics moderated the relationship between participation and delinquency.
It is possible that family variables, prior measures of outcome variables, characteristics of the activity
leader, and neighborhood characteristics could moderate or mediate the relationship of activity par-
ticipation with any of these developmental outcomes. Future research could help determine if that
is the case.
Additionally, as Mahoney et al. (2005) highlight, it is important to account for the characteristics of
the activities themselves. Along these lines, adult supervision could be investigated as a moderator or
mediator of participation with some of these outcomes, particularly substance use, sexual activity, and
delinquency, given that these activities would most likely take place when an adult is not present. SES
was only explored as a moderator of participation and psychological adjustment (and was found to
moderate this relationship), and school-level SES combined with gender was found to moderate ath-
letic participation and alcohol use. The role of SES in participation is still strongly understudied, future
research should continue to explore how the relationship between activity participation and develop-
mental outcomes varies by socioeconomic status. Activity participation may be a beneficial resource in
regard to academic achievement for adolescents who otherwise have fewer resources. Certainly fur-
ther investigation could shed light on whether SES is an important variable in the relationship be-
tween activity participation and adolescent developmental outcomes.
We also believe that investigations of extracurricular activities need to be couched in an investiga-
tion of overall time use. Several studies mentioned that most adolescents spend most of their free time
in unstructured activities. The research needs to consider the extent to which adolescents are posi-
tively engaged in activities with prosocial friends and adults. This limits the extent to which they have
opportunities to engage in delinquent behaviors, substance use and sexual activity; furthermore, it
may promote feelings of psychological well-being and influence academic achievement depending
on whether it extends or detracts from time that could be spent doing homework or other academi-
cally oriented activities.

New information: the overscheduling hypothesis

At the time of our last review, there was a spreading theory of overscheduled youth whose parents
were putting them into too many organized activities at the cost of family time and the child’s well-
being. In our current review, we found three studies that explicitly tested this theory. All three studies
did not support the notion that too many organized activities in a youth’s life were harmful to their
well-being. In one study that found a group of girls committed to a high number of organized activ-
ities, perceived parental criticism and lack of after-school supervision explained the relationship be-
tween participation and adjustment. In another study where time commitments were related to
anxiety, it was found that the full range of scheduling demands on a youth, including organized activ-
ities, other extracurricular activities, work, and family responsibilities, were responsible for this rela-
tionship. The final study found that while on a couple of outcomes youth in more hours of organized
activities may not look as good as youth in less hours of organized activity, they all looked much better
developmentally than youth who were not in organized activities. As Mahoney and colleagues (2006)
suggested, further research in this non-participating group might be worthwhile.

Advancements in methods and data sources

In our 2005 review, we concluded that a more nuanced definition of activity types was important,
and that not all seemingly similar activities should be considered synonymously. We also said that
replication with other representative samples was needed because many of the studies in our review
utilized the same large, nationally representative data set—primarily NELS:88—and new datasets
would be useful in clarifying their findings. Our current review did not reveal research with other
nationally representative samples, nor much use of nationally representative samples outside the
exploration of academic outcomes. We did find increased use of longitudinal data, however, and find-
ings are clearly different across cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Often the relationships ap-
pear positive with cross-sectional data, while with longitudinal data there is no relationship and
sometimes negative relationships between activity participation and outcomes. When presenting
A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48 45

the developmental–ecological framework, we mentioned that it might be difficult to establish a causal


relationship between participation and adolescent adjustment because they tend to follow distinct
developmental patterns. In our review, we did not identify any studies that investigated both extra-
curricular activity participation and adolescent functioning over time in order to understand whether
participation might slow the growth in sexual activity, substance use, delinquency, and emotional
problems that tend to increase over the course of adolescence. Usually, longitudinal work tended to
investigate whether participation at one point in time was significantly related to adolescent function-
ing at some point in the future. It would be useful to use a methodology, such as growth curve models,
in order to understand the extent to which participation might protect some adolescents from expe-
riencing increases in certain behaviors over the course of development.
Longitudinal work has some promise when it comes to the issue of selection bias which still pla-
gues the field of extracurricular activity research. By controlling for prior functioning, we remove
any of the shared variation between activity participation and functioning. Still, the most accurate
method for reducing selection bias is to utilize experimental or quasi-experimental datasets. There
has not been any movement in this direction since our last review. Experiments are difficult to con-
duct when it comes to extracurricular participation, as motivation, general emotional functioning,
competition, skill, resources and commitments are heavily involved in who participates and who does
not. However, given that some local districts have had to cut extracurricular programming, there may
be opportunities for natural experiments that researchers use in order to reduce selection bias in esti-
mates of extracurricular activity participation.

Measurement of participation

The use of more sophisticated participation measures—including intensity, breadth, and duration
of participation and person-centered activity clusters—has been a focus in our current review because
of the much greater insight they provide us into the relationship between activity participation and
adolescent developmental outcomes. While these nuanced studies have revealed a more sophisticated
picture of the role of participation in adolescent developmental outcomes, they also have their
strengths and drawbacks. We argued in our last review that as a field, we should study participation
as it actually occurs. However, as demonstrated by the studies in this review, this approach certainly
leads to a muddled set of findings. It is often difficult to make sense of the findings, perhaps because
participation is individualized, with as many different combinations as there are kids participating.
Especially with person-centered approaches, much of the research combined school and non-school
activities, making the true relationship between school-based extracurricular activity participation
and these developmental outcomes almost impossible to discern. However, these approaches come
closest to examining participation as adolescents actually participate and their value-added should
not be underestimated. Next steps in this approach may be to work across activity clusters, so that
researchers start to compare and contrast the kinds of adolescents, the kinds of extracurricular activ-
ities, and the time spent in them to explore the commonalities and differences of participation. This
way, rather than correlating a set of activities with an outcome, the characteristics of these sets of
activities (the people or the activities) would be the focus of the relationship with the outcome. The
Metzger et al. (2009) study is an example of how we can delve deeper into person-centered analyses.
Sports involvement was included in three of the clusters that were identified, and adolescents spent
the same amount of time in these sports activities. This finding would suggest that sports involvement
was not the driving force behind the differential outcomes for the three clusters. So what could the
differences between the clusters have been? Was there a particular activity in the set driving the rela-
tionship? Were the characteristics of the participators different? Extensive descriptive analyses of the
participation clusters can help to answer some of these questions.
In addition to person-centered approaches and detailed measures of participation, we believe that
having more studies that use experiential sampling methods could benefit the field. This method
would help us understand the day-to-day ways that adolescents use their time, who they are with,
and how they feel while they are engaged in those activities. Linking these nuanced experiences to
developmental outcomes in multilevel growth curve analyses can also reveal distinct relationships
between different facets of the experiences within these activities and developmental outcomes.
46 A.F. Farb, J.L. Matjasko / Developmental Review 32 (2012) 1–48

Together with the research from the past 5 years, such approaches can move the field of extracurric-
ular activity participation during adolescence to a different level.

Disclaimer

The findings and conclusions of this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily repre-
sent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Office of Adolescent
Health.

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