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Youths’ participation in organized activities has been repeatedly associated with better psychosocial adjustment. However, youth living in more disadvantaged contexts (e.g., lower-income, dangerous neighborhoods) have less access to organized activities. The current study aimed to compare hobbies and organized activities, in terms of their accessibility and associations with social functioning with peers, using a social ecological framework. We also examined the conditional effects of family and neighborhood disadvantage for the associations between activity engagement and peer functioning.
Participants were 91 predominantly African American, urban-dwelling middle school girls (Mage = 12.43) and their primary caregivers. Dyads completed separate interviews and questionnaires on activity engagement, family and neighborhood disadvantage, and social functioning with peers.
Results suggest that hobbies are a distinct facet of activity engagement that might be more widely accessible than organized activities. Greater involvement in hobbies and organized activities showed unique associations with indices of better peer functioning. Moreover, some of these associations were stronger for youth living in more disadvantaged contexts.
This study advances the understanding of an important yet neglected topic within the adolescent development literature on activity research, namely differential access to opportunities among ethnic minority youth. Results suggest that hobby engagement is an important aspect of activity engagement with social benefits, especially for youth living in more disadvantaged contexts. Further investigation is warranted to understand the range of potential benefits of youths’ hobby involvement.
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- A Comparison of Hobbies and Organized Activities among Low Income Urban Adolescents
Davia B. Steinberg
Valerie A. Simon
- Springer US