Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 493–505

Participation in Extracurricular Activities and Adolescent Adjustment: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Findings


DOI: 10.1007/s10964-005-7266-8

Cite this article as:
Darling, N. J Youth Adolescence (2005) 34: 493. doi:10.1007/s10964-005-7266-8


This study extends previous understanding of the association between adolescent extracurricular activity participation and adjustment by asking whether participation in school-based extracurricular activities is associated with lower substance use and depression, higher grades and academic aspirations, and more positive attitude toward school. In addition, it examines the role of life events stress and time spent in activities as potential moderators of the association. Data come from an ethnically diverse sample of adolescents from 6 California highschools (N = 3,761). Cross-sectional results suggest participation is associated with more positive adolescent outcomes for all variables except alcohol use and depression, controlling for gender, ethnicity, and grade. Longitudinal analyses are consistent with these findings. Cumulative participation over a 3-year period predicts adolescent outcomes controlling for both Time 1 outcomes and demographic characteristics. In addition, within-person analyses reveal year-to-year covariation of participation and positive outcomes.


extracurricular activitiesleisureadjustmentacademic achievementdelinquency

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology Dept.Oberlin CollegeOberlin