Developmental Experiences During Extracurricular Activities and Australian Adolescents’ Self-Concept: Particularly Important for Youth from Disadvantaged Schools
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Extracurricular activities provide adolescents with a number of positive personal and interpersonal developmental experiences. This study investigated whether developmental experiences that occurred during extracurricular activities were linked to a more positive self-concept for Australian adolescents, and whether this link was particularly salient for youth from disadvantaged schools. Adolescents (N = 1,504, 56% Female) from 26 diverse high schools across Western Australia were surveyed. The findings revealed that adolescents from low socio-economic status schools who participated in extracurricular activities had a more positive general self-worth and social self-concept than adolescents from similar socio-economic schools who did not participate in any extracurricular activities. Furthermore, the positive developmental experiences that occurred during extracurricular activities predicted a more positive general self-worth and social and academic self-concept, and this link was stronger for youth from low SES schools. These findings suggest that the developmental experiences afforded by extracurricular activities may foster positive adolescent development.
KeywordsExtracurricular activities Self-concept Experiences Disadvantaged schools
The research reported in this article was funded by a grant from The Australian Research Council to Bonnie Barber and Jacquelynne Eccles. We would like to thank the 26 High School principals, their staff, and the students who participated in the study. We are grateful to everyone in the YAPS-WA team, with special thanks to Bree Abbott and Joshua Brain for their contributions to data collection.
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