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Organized Activity Participation and Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms: Reciprocal Relations during Adolescence

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Abstract

The aim of this prospective study was to examine the relations between organized activity involvement and internalizing and externalizing symptoms across four years of high school. Participants were 240 adolescents who varied in their risk for psychopathology. Information about adolescents’ activity involvement and internalizing and externalizing symptoms were provided by both self- and mother-reports. Structural equation modeling revealed that the prospective models fit the data well. In addition to showing that activity involvement and psychopathology were quite stable over the high school years, we found reciprocal effects for activity involvement and internalizing symptoms at some, although not all, time points. Specifically, controlling for prior symptoms and risk (i.e., maternal depression history), more activity involvement in tenth grade predicted fewer internalizing symptoms in eleventh grade, which then predicted more activity involvement in twelfth grade. No reciprocal relations were found for externalizing problems. These findings highlight the importance of examining internalizing symptoms as both a predictor and outcome of activity involvement during adolescence.

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Notes

  1. The AAII is available from the first author upon request.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by grants (R29-MH45458; R01-MH57822; K02 MH66249) from the National Institute of Mental Health, and a Faculty Scholar Award (88-1214) and grant (961730) from the William T. Grant Foundation. Amy M. Bohnert was supported in part from an NIMH training grant (T32-MH18921). We appreciate the cooperation of the Nashville Metropolitan School District, Drs. Binkley and Crouch, and we thank the parents and children who participated in the project.

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Correspondence to Amy M. Bohnert.

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Bohnert, A.M., Kane, P. & Garber, J. Organized Activity Participation and Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms: Reciprocal Relations during Adolescence. J Youth Adolescence 37, 239–250 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-007-9195-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-007-9195-1

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