, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 1021-1033
Date: 30 Jun 2007

Prospective Relations Between Organized Activity Participation and Psychopathology During Adolescence

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This longitudinal study examined psychopathology as a predictor and outcome of organized activity involvement during high school among 198 adolescents who varied in risk for psychopathology as a function of their mother’s depression history. Higher levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms in eighth grade significantly predicted lower levels of involvement in academic clubs during high school, over and above risk and SES. Tobacco use prior to high school predicted lower levels of involvement overall and in academic clubs and performance arts. Controlling for psychopathology prior to high school, higher levels of activity involvement were associated with lower levels of externalizing symptoms, less tobacco use, and fewer diagnoses of behavior disorders and substance abuse in 12th grade. The positive association between risk and adolescent psychopathology was not buffered by adolescent activity involvement. Overall, these findings suggest that involvement in organized activities may contribute to lower levels of externalizing psychopathology during high school even when controlling for prior psychopathology.