Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 225–238 | Cite as

Trajectories of Organized Activity Participation Among Urban Adolescents: An Analysis of Predisposing Factors

  • Andria B. Eisman
  • Sarah A. Stoddard
  • José A. Bauermeister
  • Cleopatra H. Caldwell
  • Marc A. Zimmerman
Empirical Research


Organized activity participation provides important opportunities for adolescents to develop assets and resources related to positive youth development. Predisposing factors, in addition to sociodemographics and self-selection factors, may influence how youth participate over time. In this study, we used growth mixture modeling with longitudinal data from African American adolescents attending urban high schools in Flint, MI to identify subgroups of participation trajectories (Wave 1 N = 681, mean age at Wave 1 = 14.86 years, 51 % female). We measured activity participation using psychological and behavioral engagement across multiple contexts over the 4 years of high school. We examined how predisposing risk and promotive factors were related to these trajectories, accounting for sociodemographic and self-selection factors. The results indicated three participation trajectories: a low group decreasing over time (74 %), a moderate, consistent participation group (21 %) and a moderate, increasing group (5 %). More substance use was associated with lower odds of being in the moderate/consistent versus low/decreasing participation group. More parental support was associated with lower odds of being in the moderate/increasing versus the moderate/consistent group. Our results suggest that addressing predisposing factors such as substance use may help facilitate participation over time.


Positive youth development Risk factors Protective factors Organized activity participation Longitudinal studies Adolescent development 



This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant DA07484 (PI, Zimmerman) and the MI Youth Violence Prevention Center Grant Number 5U01CE001957-02 (PI, Zimmerman) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Author contributions

AE conceived of the study, conducted statistical analyses and drafted the manuscript. SS assisted with statistical analyses, edited the manuscript; JB assisted with study concept and edited the manuscript; CC assisted with structure of manuscript draft, edited the manuscript; MZ collected original data for study, conceived of study design and measurement, contributed to statistical analyses, manuscript draft and editing. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andria B. Eisman
    • 1
  • Sarah A. Stoddard
    • 2
  • José A. Bauermeister
    • 1
  • Cleopatra H. Caldwell
    • 1
  • Marc A. Zimmerman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.University of Michigan School of NursingAnn ArborUSA

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