Many youth experience declines in psychosocial well-being during the transition from high school to postsecondary. Hypothesizing that extracurricular activity involvement in high school functions as a resource factor, the current study examines type and breadth as predictors of psychosocial well-being one year postsecondary. The sample (N = 4070) consisted of students from diverse ethnic-racial and socio-economic status backgrounds (30% Latinx; 60% had a parent without a college degree; 47% cisgender female). Eleventh grade involvement in sports was linked with lower loneliness, social anxiety, and depressive symptoms, and higher self-worth, whereas special interest clubs were associated with lower social anxiety and depressive symptoms. Examining breadth, one or two activities were linked with optimal psychosocial well-being. The results suggest that sports and special interest clubs, and up to two activity domains, are associated with optimal psychosocial well-being, providing recommendations for extracurricular programming and youth involvement.
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The authors would like to thank members of the UCLA High School Diversity Project for their contributions to data collection, participants for their involvement in the study, and members of the DAPR Lab for feedback on design and analyses.
This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (Grant 1R01HD059882-01A2) and the National Science Foundation (0921306).Data Sharing and Declaration
The longitudinal data used for this manuscript are not publicly available as parts of the data are currently analyzed for other studies.
Conflict of Interest
The first author is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The other authors declare no conflict of interest.
This study met established ethical standards and was approved by the University of California, Los Angeles North Campus Institutional Review Board. All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Parental consent and child assent was obtained from participants in this study.
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Knifsend, C.A., Juvonen, J. Type and Breadth of High School Extracurricular Activity Involvement and Postsecondary Psychosocial Well-Being among Diverse Youth. J Youth Adolescence 52, 319–330 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-022-01695-1
- Extracurricular activities
- Psychosocial well-being
- Socio-economic status
- High school