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Participation in Structured School Activities: Relations to Social Competence Among InnerCity Canadi


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Title: Participation in Structured School Activities: Relations to Social Competence Among InnerCity Canadi

Participation in Structured School Activities
Relations to Social Competence Among Inner-City
Canadian Early Adolescents
Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl Denise Buote
University of British Columbia
  • Background and Relevance
  • Recent years have witnessed a growing portion
    of children experiencing a myriad of
    social-emotional problems that interfere with
    their successful adjustment (Greenberg et al.,
    2001). The construct of resilience is used to
    account for a child's capacity to develop well
    despite life conditions of significant risk
    (Luthar Cicchetti, 2001), and while researchers
    have spent the last decades delimiting factors
    associated with resiliency, one neglected area of
    this research has been the role of school
    activities in fostering early adolescents
    competence. Participation in activities can
    provide opportunities to develop not only more
    positive feelings about self and school, such
    participation can provide the impetus for the
    development of other important social cognitive
  • Much of the extant research has examined the
    relation of activity participation to
    academic/psychological adjustment in populations
    of high school adolescents. A general finding is
    that participation in extracurricular activities
    is generally associated with better adjustment
    (Connor Schonert-Reichl, 2001 Eccles Barber,
    1999 Mahoney et al., 2002, 2003 Schonert et
    al., 1991). Few studies, however, have documented
    correlates of activity participation among
    elementary children, and much of this work has
    focused on White, middle-class children in the
    U.S. In the present study, we extend the
    investigation of activity participation by
    examining associations between early adolescents
    involvement in school activities and their
    school/academic, behavioral, and psychological
    functioning. In this paper, we hope to extend
    earlier work by (a) examining relations of
    activity participation to dimensions of social
    competence not examined in earlier studies in a
    sample of urban early adolescents in an
    elementary school in Canada, and (b) exploring
    the ways in which the types of activity
    participation are associated with indices of
  • Participants
  • 238 4th-6th grade early adolescents attending an
    inner-city school in a large Western Canadian
    city (52 female)
  • 48 first language English, 30 Chinese, 22
  • Low to middle income families, 70 in two-parent
  • 98 of eligible children participated
  • Measures
  • School/Academic Dimensions
  • School Self-Concept (SDQ Marsh, 1998), School
    Belonging (Roeser et al., 1996), Personal
    Achievement Goals (Roeser et al., 1996), Academic
    Achievement (teacher rating, 1 to 5)
  • Behavioral Dimensions
  • Self-ratings of Prosocial Behaviors (Bandura et
    al., 1996), Teacher Ratings of Behavior Problems
    and Social Competence (TCRS Hightower et al.,
  • Socio-Emotional Dimensions
  • General Self-Concept (SDQ Marsh, 1998),
    Prosocial Goals Social Responsibility (Wentzel,
    1994), Perspective-Taking Empathy (Davis, 1983)
  • Participation in School Related Activities
  • Activity checklist to indicate all activities
    registered in during the 2002-2003 school year.
    School participation was coded dichotomously,
    with 1 participation in an activity (n 204),
    and 0 no participation (n 34).

Sample of School Activities Harry Potter I
II Yummy treats and sweets Babysitters
course Kids First Funky Hip Hop Girls
Club Tae Kwon Do Indoor hockey Computer
Club Basketball Peer Helpers Gym
Jam Student Council French tutoring Swim
Club Chess Lights, Camera,
Action Soccer Piano lessons Skateboarding
Beading/Jewelry Origami Ocean
Life Clayworks Discussion Overall, the
findings from the present study replicate and
extend the extant research examining the ways in
which participation in structured school
activities is related to adolescents adjustment.
Most notably, results from the present study
extend previous findings by demonstrating the
significance of extracurricular participation
among early adolescents in elementary school.
Early adolescents who participated in structured
school activities, in contrast to those who did
not participate, evidenced higher levels of
school self-concept, general self-concept,
self-reported prosocial behaviors,
perspective-taking, school belonging, and
teacher-rated social competence. Additionally,
for each gender, the type of activity
participation was related to dimensions of
school/academic, behavioral, and socio-emotional
adjustment in important ways. Of course, it must
be acknowledged that this results should be
interpreted cautiously. Because the study was
correlational rather than longitudinal, firm
conclusions about the effects of participation on
early adolescents adjustment cannot be drawn.
Clearly, future research is needed. Selected
References Bandura, A., Barbaranelli, C.,
Caprara, G. V., Pastorelli, C. (1996).
Mulifaceted impact of self- efficacy beliefs
on academic functioning. Child Development, 67,
1206-1222. Caprara, G. V., Pastorelli, C.
(1993). Early emotional instability, prosocial
behaviour, and aggression .Some
methodological aspects. European Journal of
Personality, 7, 19-36. Connor, J.,
Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2001, April).
Extracurricular participation in early
adolescence Links with peer group acceptance and
emotional well-being. Poster presented at
the annual meeting of the Society for Research in
Child Development, Minneapolis, MN. Eccles, J.
S., Barber, B. L. (1999). Student council,
volunteering, basketball, and marching band
What kind of extracurricular involvement matters?
Journal of Adolescent Research,
14,10-43. Mahoney, J. L., Schweder, A. E.,
Stattin, H. (2002). Structured after-school
activities as a moderator of depressed mood
for adolescents with detached relations to their
parents. Journal of Community Psychology,
30, 69-86. Mahoney, J. L., Cairns, B. D.,
Farmer, T. W. (2003). Promoting interpersonal
competence and educational success through
extracurricular participation. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 95,
409-418. Roeser, R. W., Midgley, C., Urdan, T.
C. (1996). Perceptions of the school
psychological environment and early
adolescents psychological and behavioral
functioning in school The mediating role
of goals and belonging. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 88, 408-422. Schonert, K. A.,
Elliott, J. P., Bills, D. (1991). Rural
Iowa's class of 1983 A descriptive summary
of post-secondary enrollment and persistence.
Research in Higher Education, 32,
269-288. Wentzel, K. R. (1991). Relations
between social competence and academic
achievement in early adolescence. Child
Development, 62, 1066-1078. Poster presented at
the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research
on Adolescence, March 11-14, 2004, Baltimore,
Maryland. ? Email Communication
adolescents who participate in school-related
activities differ from those children who do not
on dimensions of school/academic, behavioral, and
socio-emotional adjustment? To answer these
questions, we conducted a series of 2 (gender) X
2 (grade) univariate analyses of
2.What is the relation of the
nature of activity participation to early
adolescent boys and girls adjustment? To
answer this question, partial correlations
(controlling for grade) were computed.

School Belonging
p lt .05. p lt .01.