The current study used a person-oriented approach to examine the participation of adolescents in both constructive, organized activities as well as relaxed leisure activities. The goal of this research was to identify different profiles of involvement in activities and the relations to psychosocial indicators for these differing groups. Activity profiles were created using cluster analytic techniques for 918 adolescents' responses in 11 activity domains. The groups were found to be both statistically and substantively unique and consistent with findings from previous research. Further, the groups showed meaningful and consistent differences across a range of psychosocial indicators, including academic performance, problem behavior, and mental health. Results indicated that adolescents' activity involvement was related to their psychological and behavioral functioning and that the profiles of participation across activity settings provide a more holistic view of teens' choices than do single variable models.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Achenbach, T. (1991). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist: 4-18 and 1991 Profile. University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry, Burlington.
Barber, B. L., Eccles, J. S., and Stone, M. R. (2001). Whatever happened to the jock, the brain, and the Princess? Young adult pathways linked to adolescent activity involvement and social identity. J. Adolesc. Res. 16: 429–455.
Bartko, W. T., and Eccles, J. (1998, July). Adolescent extracurricular activity participation: Links to parents, families, peers and school. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Berne, Switzerland.
Bartko, W. T., and Eccles, J. (1999, April). Adolescent participation in structured and unstructured activities. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Albuquerque, NM.
Bartko, W. T., Eccles, J., and Barber, B. (2000, April). Predicting adolescent participation in constructive activities from a motivational perspective. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society, Winchester, England.
Bergman, L. R., and El-Khouri, B. M. (1995). SLEIPNER: A Statistical Package for Pattern-Oriented Analyses (Version 1.0) [Computer software]. Authors, Stockholm, Sweden.
Cooper, H., Valentine, J. C., Nye, B., and Lindsay, J. (1999). Relationships between five after-school activities and academic achievement. J. Educ. Psychol. 91: 369–378.
Eccles, J. S., and Barber, B. L. (1999). Student council, volunteering, basketball, or marching band: What kind of extracurricular involvement matters? J. Adolesc. Res.10: 10–43.
Elliott, D., Huizinga, D., and Ageton, S. (1985). Explaining Delinquency and Drug Use. Sage, Beverly Hills.
Gould, D., and Weiss, M. R. (1987). Advances In Pediatric Sport Sciences, Vol. 2: Behavioral Issues. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.
Harter, S. (1985). Manual for the Self-Perception Profile for Children: Revision of the Perceived Competence Scale for Children. University of Denver, Denver, CO.
Hofferth, S., and Sandberg, J. (2001). How American children spend their time. J. Marr. Fam. 63: 295–308.
Holland, A., and Andre, T. (1987). Participation in extracurricular activities in secondary school: What is known, what needs to be known? Rev. Educ. Res. 57(4): 437–466.
Howell, F., and McKenzie, J. (1987). High school athletics and adult sport-leisure activity: Gender variations across the life cycle. Sociol. Sport J. 4: 329–346.
Kleiber, D. A. (1999). Leisure Experience and Human Development: A Dialectical Interpretation. Basic Books, New York.
Kleiber, D., Larson, R., and Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1986). The experience of leisure in adolescence. J. Leisure Res. 18: 165–176.
Kovacs, M. (1992). Children's Depression Inventory Manual. Multi-Health Systems, North Tonawanda, NY.
Lamborn, S. D., Brown, B. B., Mounts, N. S., and Steinberg, L. (1992). Putting school in perspective: The influence of family, peers, extracurricular participation, and part-time work on academic engagement. In Newmann, F. M. (ed.), Student Engagement and Achievement in American Secondary Schools. Teachers College Press, New York, pp. 153–181.
Landers, D., and Landers, D. (1978). Socialization via interscholastic athletics, its effect on delinquency. Sociol. Educ. 51: 299–301.
Larson, R., and Kleiber, D. (1993). Free time activities as factors in adolescent adjustment. In Tolan, P. and Cohler, B. (eds.), Handbook of Clinical Research and Practice With Adolescents. Wiley, New York, pp. 125–145.
Larson, R., and Richards, M. (1991). Daily companionship in late childhood and early adolescence: Changing developmental contexts. Child Dev. 62: 284–300.
Mahoney, J. L. (1997). From companions to convictions: Peer groups, school engagement, and the development of Criminality. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development, Washington, DC.
Mahoney, J. L., and Cairns, R. B. (1997). Do extracurricular activities protect against early school dropout? Dev. Psychol. 33: 241–253.
Marsh, H. (1992). Extracurricular activities: Beneficial extension of the traditional curriculum of subversion of academic goals? J. Educ. Psychol. 84(4): 553–562.
McNeal, R. (1995). Extracurricular activities and high school dropouts. Sociol. Educ. 68: 62–81.
Milligan, G. W. (1996). Clustering validation: Results and implications for applied analyses. In Arabie, P., Huber, L., and De Soete, G. (eds.), Clustering and Classification. World Scientific Publishing, River Edge, NJ.
National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2002). Features of positive developmental settings. In Eccles, J., and Gootman, J. (eds.), Community Programs to Promote Youth Development. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. Committee on Community-Level Programs for Youth. Board on Children, Youth, and Families.
Otto, L. (1975). Extracurricular activities in the educational attainment process. Rural Sociol. 40: 162–176.
Otto, L. (1976). Extracurricular activities and aspirations in the status attainment process. Rural Sociol. 41: 217–233.
Otto, L. B., and Alwin, D. (1977). Athletics, aspirations and attainments. Sociol. Educ. 50: 102–113.
Posner, J. K., and Vandell, D. L. (1994). Low-income children's after-school care: Are there beneficial effects of after-school programs? Child Dev. 65: 440–456.
Vandell, D. L., and Corasaniti, M. A. (1988). The relation between third graders' after-school care and social, academic, and emotional functioning. Child Dev. 59: 168–177.
Yin, Z., Katims, D., and Zapata, J. (1999). Participation in leisure activities and involvement in delinquency by Mexican American adolescents. Hisp. J. Behav. Sci. 21(2): 170–185.
Youniss, J., Yates, M., and Su, Y. (1997). Social integration: Community service and marijuana use in high school seniors. J. Adolesc. Res. 12: 245–262.
Zeijl, E., te Poel, Y., du Bois-Reymond, M., Ravesloot, J., and Meulman, J. (2000). The role of parents and peers in the leisure activities of young adolescents. J. Leisure Res. 32: 281–302.
About this article
Cite this article
Bartko, W.T., Eccles, J.S. Adolescent Participation in Structured and Unstructured Activities: A Person-Oriented Analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 32, 233–241 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023056425648